SC restrains NDMC from auctioning Taj Mansingh

Taj Mansingh Hotel, New Delhi (Source: Wikipedia)
Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) will continue to run Taj Mansingh hotel in the national capital for now as Supreme Court on Monday ordered to maintain the present situation and restrained New Delhi Municipal Council from auctioning the property.

The SC Bench of P C Ghose and U U Lalit also refused to accept the plea of NDMC that any fresh booking beyond March for hotel be restrained.

Regarding the plea, the bench said, "It is difficult to restrain fresh bookings for a running hotel. Everything will be decided when we hear the matter in January."

IHCL, which runs the Taj Mansingh hotel in the national capital, had on November 8 approached SC against Delhi high court order that cleared the decks for auctioning of the hotel. 

Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for IHCL, said the company was ready to pay "any price" for the hotel, but it should get the right of first refusal. 

A right of first refusal is a contractual right of an entity to be given the opportunity to enter into a business transaction with a person or company before anyone else can. If the entity with the right of first refusal declines to enter into a transaction, the owner of the asset is free to open the bidding up to other interested parties.

"I (IHCL) have built the brand, I have created the brand, at least tell me a price. If I am unable to pay or refuse to pay, then you (NDMC) can proceed as you wish. They should give me the right of first refusal," Salve said.

Additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain, appearing for NDMC, said the property was owned by the civic body and was given to IHCL on a lease of 33 years, which expired in 2011.

He said IHCL has no vested right for renewal of licence from the civic body and the only right they have got is that they can seek for renewal, which is up to the NDMC for consideration.

The SC Bench posted the matter for further hearing in the second week of January.

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