Supreme Court seeks DMRC response on Airport Metro Express plea

The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on an appeal by Reliance Infrastructure arm Delhi Airport Metro Express (DAMEPL) seeking further interest of around Rs 2,000 crore towards enforcement of the arbitration award that it had won in May 2017 against DMRC. 

Challenging a limited portion of the Delhi High Court’s March 10 order that told DMRC to pay balance arbitration award amount of around Rs 3,300 crore to DAMEPL by May 30, the Anil Ambani group firm told a Bench led by Justice LN Rao that the HC had disabled it from recovering entitlement granted to it under the Rs 4,600-crore arbitration award which had been upheld by SC on September 9 last year. 

The apex court issued a notice to DMRC on the plea.

“After including the pre-ward interest, the sum awarded under Section 31(7) of the (Arbitration) Act as on the date of award is Rs 4,662.59 crore. The total gross decretal sum along with post-award interest (up to March 10) on the sum awarded computed in accordance with the award is Rs 8,053.21 crore. Out of the said amount, only sum of Rs 2,278.42 crore has been paid so far by DMRC. Hence, the remaining decretal sum yet to be satisfied along with interest is Rs 5,774.79 crore,” DAMEPL said in its plea.

Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for DAMEPL, said the HC order erroneously rejected computation of post-award interest to DAMEPL on ‘sums awarded’ since it included the pre-award interest.

DAMEPL said the pre-award interest component awarded to it was in respect of the termination payment. “The remaining claims awarded, other than termination payment, carry interest from the date of payment of stamp duty i.e May 12, 2017,” as per the award.

According to the plea, the arbitration Act provides that an award for the payment of money can include interest for the entire pre-award period between the date on which the cause of action arose and the date on which the award is made.  

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, in the March 10 order, noted that the DMRC’s affidavit as on February 14 had stated that the total funds available with it was Rs 5,693.39 core, of which Rs 514 crore was committed to the salary, medical and post-retiral benefits of employees and Rs 114 crore was the portion of refundable security deposits. Accordingly, it directed DMRC to keep aside Rs 628 crore ( Rs 514 crore + Rs 114 crore) for statutory expenses and pay the balance amount under other heads to DAMEPL towards part payment of decreetal amount within two weeks. For the outstanding amount, DMRC was directed to make the payments in two equal instalments within two months. The first instalment had to be paid on or before April 30 and the second by May 31.

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