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Delhi Milk Scheme Employees Union (Regd.) and Ors. Vs. The Union of India and Ors. - (High Court of Delhi) (21 Jan 2019)

A policy decision is amenable to judicial review only if it is contrary to any provision of Constitution or statute, or otherwise capricious or arbitrary



The challenge in present petition is to a tender dated 27th June, 2018, whereby the Union of India has invited bids from prospective concessionaires to take over the operations and management of the Delhi Milk Scheme ["DMS"] for a period of thirty years. The Petitioners claim to be a registered Union of workers of DMS and its President.

DMS was established in 1959 and functions as a subordinate office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare of the Government of India (hereinafter referred to as "the Government"). Its objectives are to supply milk and dairy products to the citizens of Delhi, whilst assuring remunerative prices to milk producers. It has a plant and an office complex in New Delhi, milk collection and chilling centers located in and around Delhi, and 566 milk booths all over the city. By the impugned tender, the Government seeks to enter into an operations and management arrangement to ensure optimal capacity utilization and efficient management of the DMS plant, initially for a period of 30 years. The successful bidder is required to pay an "Annual Lease Rental" to the Government.

Present Court is not inclined to entertain a challenge to a decision of this nature at the instance of a workers' union. Such a decision is essentially a matter of policy as to the most appropriate arrangement for the efficient and productive management of an asset owned by the Government. A policy decision is amenable to judicial review only if it is contrary to any provision of the Constitution or statute, or otherwise capricious or arbitrary.

It is not open to the Petitioners herein to assail the impugned tender on the grounds contained in the writ petition. The impugned tender permits the concessionaire to select willing DMS employees to continue under the concessionaire, with the remaining employees being absorbed in the surplus pool of the Government. The writ petition dismissed.


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