Eighteen outlets of fast-food major McDonald's have reopened in New Delhi on Tuesday even as joint venture partners Vikram Bakshi and McDonald's India Pvt Ltd (MIPL) remain embroiled in a dispute.
In a board meeting of Connaught Plaza Restaurants Private Limited (CPRL), the 50:50 joint venture company, which was called on Sunday, a resolution was passed to reopen 21 outlets, Bakshi, who is managing director of CPRL, said. "Eighteen restaurants in Delhi reopened on Tuesday," he said, adding the decision was taken in the interest of all stakeholders including employees, landlords and vendors.
The board meeting was held under the chairmanship of judge G S Singhvi, who is the court-appointed administrator. While Bakshi and his wife attended Sunday's board meeting, MIPL representatives, who have two board seats, were absent, sources in the know said.
It may be recalled that 43 McDonald's outlets in New Delhi-National Capital Region were forced to down shutters following lapse of their eating-out or health licences in June. This development acted as a trigger in the latest round of legal battles between Bakshi and MIPL, which has been on since 2013.
Bakshi said on Tuesday that health licences for 21 outlets had been received, paving the way for the reopening of 18. It is unclear when the balance three, which have health licences now, will be reopened. Also, the fate of the other 22 stores of the total 43 outlets is still unclear.
MIPL was not immediately available for comment. Earlier, MIPL had said it would enforce the termination of the licence agreement issued by it against CPRL on August 21. The 15-day notice period specified in the termination letter had lapsed on September 5, rendering uncertain the fate of a total 169 stores in the north and east of India, run by the joint venture company.
The CPRL board meeting on Sunday also authorised Bakshi via a board resolution to take legal action against the termination notice given by MIPL.
Bakshi confirmed the same saying the CPRL board had decided to pursue "full legal recourse" against the "illegal" termination by MIPL.
On Wednesday, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) will hear MIPL's response to the show-cause notice issued by it earlier this month for contempt of court.
On Thursday, the appellate court of NCLT will hear MIPL and Bakshi's lawyers on separate applications pressed by the two on termination of the licence agreement.
In a board meeting of CPRL, a resolution was passed to reopen 21 outlets
Eighteen of 21 restaurants in Delhi reopened on Tuesday
43 outlets in New Delhi-NCR were forced to down shutters following lapse of their health licences in June