India: Supreme Court gives NDMC nod to e-auction Taj Mansingh Hotel

IHCL runs the Taj Mansingh Hotel in the national capital. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

The Supreme Court on Thursday approved the e-auction of Taj Mansingh Hotel in Delhi, rejecting the claim of Tata groupowned Indian Hotels Co. Ltd (IHCL) over the property.

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had sought the court’s nod to auction the hotel.

In an earlier hearing, the apex court had asked NDMC to reconsider its decision as the IHCL had approached the apex court against a Delhi high court’s ruling allowing the auction of Taj Mansingh Hotel.

On 27 October 2016, a division bench denied IHCL’s claim to right of first refusal on the auction to bring the highest bidders to the table. “IHCL will be allowed to participate in the bid and also match the highest offer,” additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain told the court on Thursday.

IHCL had moved the Delhi high court first in April 2013, seeking to restrain the NDMC from auctioning Taj Mansingh Hotel after a committee declined to renew the licence in its favour for 30 years.

NDMC and IHCL had entered into an agreement in 1976 to construct and run a five-star hotel in one of the prime locations in central Delhi, 1 Mansingh Road.

IHCL claimed that the original licence agreement—with NDMC as the licensor and IHCL as the licencee—later became a joint venture with two equal partners; the high court rejected this claim. The original licence operated for a period of 33 years from late 1976 and concluded in 2011. Thereafter, several ad hoc extensions were granted till 31 January.

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This story was first published on Livemint