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MUMBAI : The Supreme Court on Monday said the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority cannot cite the disqualification of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) from a Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) project as a reason to disqualify the company from future bids.

The Supreme Court has asked the Adani Ports to withdraw its petition, which has been agreed upon by the company.

In June, Adani Ports moved the Bombay high court, challenging the board of trustees of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (BTJNPA) for disqualifying its bid to upgrade a container terminal in Navi Mumbai. This came after JNPT earlier disqualified its bid citing a pending dispute between Adani Vizag Coal Terminal Pvt. Ltd (AVCTPL) and Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT).

The JNPT bid was invited for upgradation, operation, maintenance and transfer of Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal through a public private partnership. Adani Ports was disqualified because the company did not reveal information about the termination of the concession agreement between AVCTPL and VPT in 2020.

Adani Ports moved the Bombay high court to declare its disqualification as illegal and wrongful, and revoke it. The court, however, termed the plea as non-meritorious, and directed Adani to pay 5 lakh to the port authority for filing a case that lacked merit. Adani Ports challenged the verdict in Supreme Court.

Adani Ports claimed that Adani Vizag, an associate firm, was in a contractual relationship with VPT since 2011. During the pandemic, the company had intended termination of the agreement by invoking the force majeure clause. VPT, however, did not agree, whereafter Adani Vizag terminated the agreement on 21 October 2020, with effect from 19 January 2021.

On 30 November 2020, the disputes and differences between AVCTPL and VPT were referred to arbitration by AVCTPL. It was alleged in the writ petition that as a counter, VPT on 26 December 2020 terminated the concession agreement with AVCTPL to be effective after 90 days.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Priyanka Gawande
Priyanka Gawande is a senior legal correspondent at Mint. She has worked as legal reporter for four years with both television and digital mediums. Based in Mumbai, she reports on disputes across sectors including banking, corporates and finance. This also includes insolvency and bankruptcy cases and intellectual property rights (IPR) litigation. Her focus also comprises tracking capital markets and disputes relating to securities law. Previously, Priyanka worked with Informist Media for 2.5 years covering major insolvency and bankruptcy cases and corporate developments. She started her career in journalism with Business Television India (BTVi) where she reported on primary markets, banking, finance and insurance companies.
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Updated: 06 Sep 2022, 12:50 AM IST
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