A Delhi court has asked HMT Ltd to pay over Rs 3.38 crore damages to LIC for delay in vacating its rented premises in high-security Lutyens Zone.
District Judge H S Sharma upheld an estate officer's order to HMT Ltd to vacate its office, owned by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) in Jeevan Tara building at Parliament Street here as its lease was not extended and also to pay Rs 3,38,10,687.
HMT Ltd had vacated its rented office in Jeevan Tara building in May 2010 as per the estates officer's January 10, 2010 order. But, it had challenged the order saying the officer had not taken into the account the Public Premises Rules while fixing the damages and that the LIC was seeking "steep increase" in the rent.
The court rejected the HMT's submission saying both LIC and HMT are government organisations, so LIC could not have any malafide intention.
"In my view, the estate officer has taken into account the documentary evidence to fix the damages. He has fixed reasonable and justified damages. The findings arrived at by the estate officer cannot be faulted.
"The appellant (HMT) had sought time to negotiate with the LIC. The HMT and the LIC are government organisations. Therefore, there could not have been any malafide in the part of LIC," the judge said.
The court also said the HMT should have taken into account the fact that the rent in the area has gone up with the passage of time.
The HMT had taken 4495 sq feet and 198 sq feet (garage) on the ground floor of Jeevan Tara building, barely half a kilometre from the Parliament, in 1960 at a monthly rent of Rs 40,887 excluding electricity and water charges.
The lease of the building was last extended in 1995 for a period of three years. Thereafter, when the HMT did not vacate the premises, a notice of termination of tenancy was issued in 2001 and 2002 and damages were also claimed by the LIC, Jeevan Bharti Building at Connaught Place.