The Supreme Court on Monday ordered for maintenance of status quo with regard to New Delhi Municipal Council’s proposal for auctioning off the iconic Taj Mansingh Hotel in New Delhi run by Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL).
A bench of justices P C Ghose and U U Lalit, which is hearing IHCL’s plea against a Delhi high court order allowing its auctioning, also refused NDMC’s prayer that the hotel should be restrained from taking any fresh booking.
The court said “it’s very difficult to restrain the fresh bookings for a running hotel. Everything will be decided when we hear the matter.”
The bench posted the matter for further hearing in the second week of January. IHCL, which runs the Taj Mansingh Hotel in the national capital, had on November 8 approached the apex court against the Delhi High Court order that cleared the decks for auctioning off the iconic property.
The firm had challenged the October 27 verdict delivered by a division bench of the high court which had dismissed IHCL’s petition challenging the move by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to auction the property.
The high court, in its verdict, had dismissed IHCL’s plea saying the company has “no right” for renewal of the licence period and the NDMC was “within its power” to secure maximum consideration for grant of licence for the property situated in the prime location of 1, Man Singh Road in Lutyen’s Delhi.
IHCL had moved the division bench of high court against the September 5 judgment of a single judge who had not acceded to the firm’s request for renewal of license for a further period, saying it was not entitled to 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. NDMC had in January this year said it was in the process of assessing the assets of the hotel in preparation for the much-delayed auction.
IHCL had earlier approached the single judge bench seeking a decree of permanent injunction restraining the NDMC from interfering in any manner with the possession, right to operate, run and maintain the hotel premises.