Read Order: DELHI AIRPORT METRO EXPRESS PRIVATE LIMITED v. DELHI METRO RAIL CORPORATION LTD 

Tulip Kanth

New Delhi, June 22, 2022: While considering the plea of Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt. Ltd.(DAMEPL) claiming the payment of the arbitration awarded amount of Rs.4427.41 crores from the Judgment debtor- Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the Delhi High Court has granted time to DMRC to ensure payment of the outstanding amount to the applicant/decree holder on or before August 5, 2022 after it was brought to the Court’s attention that DMRC has called for quotations for raising Capex loan from various banks for payment of the same.

The Bench of Justice V. Kameswar Rao was approached by DAMEPL claiming that  DMRC had paid only a sum of Rs.166.44 crores to DAMEPL and had not paid any amount thereafter. Despite the Execution Judgment dated March 10, 2022, not having been challenged by DMRC, which directed payment of the outstanding decretal amount in two equal instalments by April 30, 2022 and May 31, 2022, respectively, and the Execution Judgment being in operation, DMRC submitted that time may be given to it to arrange bank loans to pay the decretal amount.

From DMRC’s side, it was submitted that the balance sum of Rs.166.44 crores lying in the account after defrayment of Operations and Maintenance expenses was remitted on March 14, 2022 and the Corporation sought further time to make the payments as per the Arbitral Award.

On the issue of interest,referring to Paragraph 30 of the judgment dated March 10, 2022, of this Court with regard to the plea whether the decree holder had a right to claim interest over interest till the date of payment in terms of Arbitral Award, the Bench opined this issue was negated by the Supreme Court in its judgment dated May 5, 2022.

The Bench took into consideration the fact that DMRC had been raising loans and expected to process the bids of the banks by July 10, 2022, and the signing of loan documents by August 15, 2022. It was also urged form DMRC’s side that  the matter be posted in the early part of August 2022 to ensure payment of the outstanding amount to the applicant / decree holder.

With respect to section 89 of the MR Act which is in the nature of statutory protection conferred by the Parliament in recognition of the functions carried out by DMRC in the public interest, DAMEPL’s contention was that there was no restriction on the attachment of bank accounts or any properties not being used or provided by a metro railway administration for the purpose of traffic on its railway, stations, workshops, or offices. Rigours of Section 89(1) of the MR Act will not apply to all assets. 

To refute this submission, DMRC contended that that as per Section 89 only earnings of DMRC would be open for attachment and not the amounts held by DMRC in Trust for construction of metro projects in NCR.To further strengthen this position, it was brought to the Court’s notice that permission was sought by DMRC from the Central Government seeking sanction under Section 89 for use of the funds lying under the head of Total Project Funds and Total Other Funds for the satisfaction of the Arbitral Award / decree but the said sanction was declined by the Central Government.

Thus, noting the submissions made by the parties, the Bench was of the view that action had been initiated by the DMRC and so, time should be granted to the Corporation to ensure payment of the outstanding amount to the applicant/decree holder on or before August 5, 2022. The DMRC has also been asked to file an affidavit, giving the break up of the payments made to satisfy the award within one week thereafter.The Bench also ordered that the application to renotified on August 16, 2022.

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