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Construction of Residential Complex for Judicial Staff: Delhi HC stays PWD debarment order issued against a contractor

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has stayed an order issued by Public Works Department (PWD) debarring a contractor involved in the construction of staff quarters for judicial officers in Rohini in 2016.
The petitioner stated that the project was started in the year 2014 and the same was completed in the year 2016. The defect liability period was also over in the year 2018 and after six years, a Show Cause Notice dated 14.02.2024 has been issued to the Petitioner for alleged faulty construction.
Petitioner's Counsel Advocate Ankur Mahindro submitted that the Show Cause Notice and the Debarment Order has been passed on the very same date i.e., on 14.02.2024. He also stated that no opportunity has been given to the Petitioner to respond to the Show Cause Notice itself, and therefore, the same is violative of the law laid down by the Apex Court.
Noting the submissions, the bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad last week, issued notice to the respondents including PWD and said that since the Petitioner has been able to make out a prima facie case in its favour, the Debarment Order 14.02.2024 shall remain stayed till the next date of hearing.
In the meantime, it is open for the Petitioner to respond to the show cause notice and the Respondent is directed to pass further Orders in accordance with law before the next date of hearing, said the bench.
Advocate Ankur Mahindro during arguements further submitted that the debarment order was passed without granting the contractor a proper opportunity to respond, undermining the principles of fairness and due process. A show cause notice was purportedly issued, but it served more as a facade rather than a genuine attempt to engage.

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