HC notice to civic body on Tata plea against Taj auction | delhi | Hindustan Times
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HC notice to civic body on Tata plea against Taj auction

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to respond to the Tata Group's plea seeking to restrain it from auctioning the property on which Taj Mansingh Hotel is located.

delhi Updated: Apr 10, 2013 00:04 IST
HT Correspondent

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to respond to the Tata Group's plea seeking to restrain it from auctioning the property on which Taj Mansingh Hotel is located.

The NDMC is scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday to decide on modalities of the auction. Issuing a notice to the NDMC, Justice ML Mehta sought its response within two weeks and said it would consider Tata's plea seeking an interim stay on the auction on the next date of hearing.

Justice Mehta, however, granted liberty to the Indian Hotels Company (IHC), which manages the property, to approach the court if any coercive steps were taken against it by the NDMC. "Issue notice to NDMC and reply to be filed within two weeks. If there is any threat of coercive step against it, the plaintiff (IHC) is at liberty to approach the court," Justice Mehta said.

Appearing for NDMC, senior advocate VP Singh accepted the notice on behalf of the land-owning agency and sought two weeks time to file a reply on the company's plea. Referring to a Supreme Court ruling in the Chanakya Cinema case and the NDMC Act, the senior counsel submitted that the land had to be put up for auction after the lease period is over.

Senior advocate N K Kaul, appearing for IHC, submitted that as per the contract between the parties, the extension of lease has to take place on the basis of their mutual understanding. He argued that the lease of the land has been with IHC for more than 33 years and the company has built a permanent structure there. He said he has spent a huge amount of money on development of infrastructure in the area and it has the right to seek an extension of the lease.

After hearing the submissions of both parties, the court posted the matter for further hearing in July.

The 33-year lease of IHC ended in October 2011 and was extended by a year by revising the revenue-share licence fee. In September 2012, NDMC had once again granted IHC a one-year extension that will end in November this year.