Tata loses Taj as SC orders hotel’s auction
The Supreme Court on Thursday cleared the decks for the auction of the Taj Mansingh Hotel located in the heart of the Capital, thus ending the hold of the Tatas over one of the most iconic buildings in Lutyens’ Delhi.
Ending the legal battle over Taj, the apex court allowed the request of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the land-owning agency, to go for an e-auction of the hotel in which the existing leaseholder, Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), a Tata subsidiary, can bid.
The court refused to entertain its request to be granted the right of first refusal. Now, the NDMC has a free hand to go for an open public auction and award the highest bidder the right to run the hotel.
However, considering the “blemish-free” record held by Tata in running the hotel since 1976, the Bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Rohington F Nariman
said in the event IHCL loses the bid, it will have a “six-month” breathing period to vacate the premises.
The five-star hotel run by the IHCL was defended by senior advocate Harish Salve. He pointed out that the NDMC had invested just about Rs6 crore while his clients had pumped in close to Rs129 crore with a paid licence fee of over Rs400 crore.
But the civic body, represented by senior advocate Sanjay Jain, contended that the NDMC was well within its right to take this decision in the best interest of running the hotel. Jain later told reporters that the e-auction will take place in two weeks.
The Tatas had entered into a 33-year lease to construct and run the Taj Mansingh Hotel as per an agreement signed between the NDMC and IHCL on December 18, 1976. The lease came to an end in the year 2011. Since then it got several extensions.
The IHC initially challenged the NDMC move to go for an auction in the Delhi High Court, but it failed o get any relief. In its suit, the Tatas sought a decree of permanent injunction to restrain the NDMC from interfering in any manner with the possession, right to operate, run and maintain the hotel property.
Following the HC order, IHCL approached the apex court, which ordered status quo in November 2016.
While Tatas claimed there was no need to go for an auction when the company was willing to give the best revenue possible for the prime property, the Court felt that the civic body had all the right to proceed with the auction.
- TMC, Tamil Nadu Opp slam Centre 28 May 2017 | PNS
- Have a beef with Centre over ban: Kerala 28 May 2017 | VR Jayaraj
- Sunanda murder: Police form team to file report on hotel Leela’s plea 28 May 2017 | Souvik Mitra
- India signs maritime pact with Mauritius 28 May 2017 | Vineeta Pandey
- Natural gas business running out of steam 28 May 2017 | Madhusudan Sahoo
- Wani’s successor shot, one protester killed 28 May 2017 | Khursheed Wani
- 10 ultras killed in 24 hrs 28 May 2017 | PNS
- Terrorists use house of God for evil 28 May 2017 | Rahul Datta/Mohit Kandhari
- If Europe is to survive, it must root out jehadism 28 May 2017 | Swapan Dasgupta
- Govt keeps pet breeders, mills on tight leash 27 May 2017 | Rajesh Kumar
Sunday EditionView All
28 May 2017 | Omer Farooq | Hyderabad
The love marriage of an Upper Caste girl with a lower caste boy has ended in a grisly tragedy. As the girl ended her life due to harassment of her family, police have arrested her father T Srinivas Reddy on the charges of murdering his son-in-law Amboji Naresh...
STATE EDITIONSView All
29 May 2017 | PRAGYA PALLAVI/ PARVINDER BHATIA/ ASHIS SINHA | Ranchi/ Jamshedpur/ Bokaro
Harsh Shah of DAV Public School, Pundag, grabbed the first position in the State in science stream by scoring 97.8 per cent marks in the All India Senior Secondary School Certificate Exam (AISSSCE) results declared on Sunday...