SC okays Taj Mansingh auction, rejects Tata Group's plea

The Supreme Court today approved the e-auction of Delhi's Taj Mansingh Hotel, rejecting the claim of Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Co Ltd (IHCL) over the property.

The New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) had sought the court's permission to auction the hotel.

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

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 today.

IHCL had moved the Delhi high court first in April 2013, seeking to restrain the NDMC from auctioning the hotel after a committee declined to renew the licence in its favour for 30 years (See: Centre nulls move to give Tatas priority in Delhi's Taj Mansingh auction).

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 to 2011. Thereafter, several ad hoc extensions were granted till 31 January.