The Supreme Court
on Thursday asked the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to reconsider its decision to auction Tata Group's Taj Mansingh hotel
in Delhi within six weeks. There will be no change till then as the status quo ordered in November last year would prevail.
SC passed the order at the end of a three-day hearing on the appeal of Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) against the Delhi high court judgment which allowed NDMC
to end the 33-year lease and auction the property.
The Bench presided over by Justice P C Ghose asked the civic body to settle the issue through negotiations or go for auction with the right of first refusal to the Tata firm. If the company offers a matching price, it shall be accepted; else it would be auctioned.
The judges were critical of the conduct of NDMC
and observed that it did not act fairly and suppressed the opinion of law officers’ that favoured Tata’s plea for extension of lease. During the week-long arguments, counsel Harish Salve representing IHCL
said the company had paid more than Rs 250 crore up to 2011 according to the joint venture arrangement with NDMC. He claimed that it was the only hotel which regularly paid to NDMC. If the hotel was auctioned, it would be a heavy loser.