Court notice to NDMC on Taj Mahal hotel lease

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday issued notice to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) on a plea of Tata Group’s Indian Hotels Company (IHC) against the civic agency’s proposal to auction the lease of a plot on which Taj Mahal Hotel is built in the heart of the city.

Justice M.L. Mehta sought a response from the NDMC which owns the plot on Mansingh Road in central Delhi and said he would consider the company’s plea seeking an interim stay on the auction on the next date of hearing.

“Issue notice to the NDMC and reply to be filed within two weeks. If there is any threat of coercive step against it, the plaintiff (IHC) is at liberty to approach the court,” Justice Mehta said.

The 33-year lease of IHC ended in October 2011 and was extended by a year by revising the revenue-share licence fee. In September 2012, the NDMC once again granted a one-year extension to the company.

The civil suit filed by IHC sought the court to restrain the NDMC from “interfering with the possession, right to operate, run and maintain the hotel premises”.

The NDMC would hold a meeting Wednesday to decide on the proposal for auctioning the property lease.

Senior advocate V.P. Singh, appearing for the NDMC, told the court that the land had to be put up for auction after the lease period got over.

Appearing for IHC, senior advocate N.K. Kaul said IHC had a right to seek an extension of lease.

The lease of the land was with IHC for more than three decades and the company built a permanent structure by spending a huge amount of money on development of infrastructure in the area, Kaul said.

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