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Chandigarh MC properties attached to recover security deposit

Contempt: Court order comes in the wake of MC failing to refund Rs 5 lakh security to a parking contractor despite orders from the HC and local court

punjab Updated: Feb 06, 2018 14:21 IST
Aneesha Bedi
Aneesha Bedi
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh MC,MC properties attached,security deposit
The petitioner, Subhash Chander, who managed the parking lot at Sukhna Lake, opposite Lake Club, Sector 5, in 2005, was told to submit a list of properties to be attached on Tuesday. (HT File )

A local court has attached the properties of Chandigarh municipal corporation for not releasing an annulled security deposit to a parking contractor, whose agreement was cancelled in 2005 for overcharging.

The petitioner, Subhash Chander, who managed the parking lot at Sukhna Lake, opposite Lake Club, Sector 5, in 2005, was told to submit a list of properties to be attached on Tuesday.

Timeline
  • July 2005: MC cancelled contract of a parking lot at Sukhna Lake after complaint of overcharging, and annulled Rs 5-lakh deposited by the contractor as security
  • May 2011: Contractor moved court, claiming cancellation of contract and security deposit illegal. Trial court directed MC to refund security amount to petitioner in three months
  • March 2012: MC failed to follow court order and sought more time to pay. Plea was denied
  • Dec 2012:MC moved HC against trial court order, seeking more time to submit amount
  • March 8, 2013: MC deposited Rs 8.33 lakh in local court, while its plea was still in HC. Hence, amount was not released to the petitioner
  • July 8, 2016: HC dismissed MC’s plea, terming it belated, and directed it to refund the security deposit
  • Oct 2017: Contractor filed another plea against MC failure to release Rs 5 lakh
  • Jan 2018: Trial court issued warrants for attachment of MC property.

The matter will now come up for hearing on April 7.

In his petition, Chander submitted that through an open auction in September 2004, he was granted a one-year licence for Rs 20 lakh to manage the paid parking lot at Sukhna Lake from January 14, 2005.

In line with the indenture’s terms, he deposited Rs 5 lakh (20% of the licence fee) as security amount, which was refundable after completion of contract. During the contract period, the then MC additional commissioner, PS Aujla, received a complaint of overcharging at the parking lot.

Chander claimed that without giving him a chance to present his case, the MC illegally cancelled his contract in July 2005 and also cancelled his security deposit.

After he moved court under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 in May 2011, MC officials responded to a court notice, that there were complaints of fleecing by the public, and the contractor had breached the terms and conditions by putting a black dot on the parking slip to conceal the approved rates, and was charging Rs 10 instead of Rs 5 for car parking and Rs 5 instead of Rs 2 for scooter parking.

A local court on May 12, 2011, gave the corporation three months to solve the issue, failing which it would have to release the security amount to Chander.

Having failed to find a solution in the stipulated time, the MC in March 2012 sought more time to pay the amount. But the plea was denied, following which the civic body on March 8, 2013, deposited Rs 8.33 lakh (Rs 5 lakh along with 9% interest) in court.

But not satisfied with the local court dismissing their plea for extension of time, MC additional commissioner simultaneously approached the Punjab and Haryana high court in 2013. As such, the Rs 8.33 lakh deposited with the local court was not released to the petitioner.

Chander’s counsel opposed the plea in HC claiming it was belated by 525 days. Imposing a fine of Rs 30,000 for delay in filing appeal, the HC in May 2016 directed the MC additional commissioner to settle the matter and pay Chander the security amount, while staying proceedings on the interest.

However, the MC again failed to follow the court order, after which Chander moved an execution application in October 2017, following which the trial court issued warrants for attachment of property in January this year.

First Published: Feb 06, 2018 14:16 IST