HC clears decks for auctioning of iconic Taj Mansingh Hotel
Clearing the decks for auctioning of the iconic Taj Mansingh Hotel here, Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed Indian Hotels Company Ltd’s (IHCL) plea challenging the move by the New Delhi Municipal Council, saying the firm has “no right” for renewal of the licence period.
A bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Pratibha Rani observed that NDMC was “within its power” to secure maximum consideration for grant of licence for the property at the prime location of 1, Man Singh Road in Lutyen’s Delhi.
“To put it pithily, IHCL (which runs the hotel) has no right under the licence for a renewal thereof and therefore no further issue needs to be considered and decided,” the bench said while dismissing IHCL’s appeal in which it had challenged a single judge order dismissing their suit seeking to restrain NDMC from auctioning the property.
“It is the inherent right of every proprietor to secure maximum consideration for his property in all transactions, apart from transactions where the law limits consideration that can be charged by the proprietor, for any public purpose or in public interest,” the bench noted in its judgement.
“In the case of governmental bodies like the NDMC, the implicit right of a proprietor to maximise consideration for its property is also a duty since these bodies own and transact property in a fiduciary capacity for the general public,” the court said.
It further said, “in exercising its right/discharging its duty to secure maximum consideration for grant of licence in relation to property bearing No.1, Man Singh Road, New Delhi, NDMC is within its power to ensure that such measures are adopted by it which fetch the maximum revenue.”
IHCL had moved the division bench against the September 5 judgement of a single judge who had not acceded to the firm’s request for renewal of licence for a further period, saying it was not entitled for the extension.
The property, owned by NDMC, was given to IHCL on a lease of 33 years. The lease had ended in 2011 and the company was given nine temporary extensions since then on various grounds, with three of them granted last year itself.