National Textiles Corporation (NTC) has lost its lease-hold rights on a prime mill land plot measuring 40,000 square metres in central Mumbai, as the Bombay high court on Monday dismissed its appeal challenging the eviction order by the small causes court.
On September 15, 2006, a single-judge bench of the small causes court had passed an order directing NTC to hand over possession of the mill land to the original owner, Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Trust Settlement. NTC appealed before the small causes court. When the appellate bench confirmed the order, NTC appealed in the Bombay high court.
In 1900, the Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Trust Settlement had leased the land to NTC’s predecessor-in-interest Maneckjee Petit Manufacturing Company Limited, for 99 years. In 2001, the company moved the small causes court and sought the possession of the plot.
NTC contended in the high court, that the lease was automatically renewable on payment of all the outgoings mentioned in the 1900 deed. NTC maintained that since it had paid all the dues, the lease should have been treated ‘renewed automatically’.
However, justice Ranjit More of the Bombay high court found the lease was silent about exercising the option of renewing the lease deed.
“It is for the lessee [Byramjee Jeejeebhoy], to exercise the option of renewal where indenture of the lease has cast a burden either on him or is silent as to who should exercise the option,” he said. The possession of the plot, however, will continue with NTC as the high court extended the stay for eight weeks.