TATA group withdraws plea from SC on auctioning of Taj Mahal hotel

New Delhi:Tata Group-owned Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) today withdrew from the Apex Court the plea challenging the Delhi High Court order which had upheld the tender procedure for the proposed e-auctioning of Delhi’s iconic Taj Mahal Hotel by civic body NDMC.

IHCL took back its plea after a vacation bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao and M M Shantanagoudar indicated that it will not entertain the appeal as the e-auctioning of the hotel has not taken place.

“Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Mohan Parasaran, senior counsel appearing for the petitioner (IHCL) seek leave of this court to withdraw the special leave petition at this stage. The special leave petition is permitted to be withdrawn,” the bench noted in its order.

At the outset, the Tata group firm assailed the Delhi high court order and said the tender issued by New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), inviting bids for grant of leave and licence of the hotel situated at No.1, Mansingh Road here, should be quashed as it did not incorporate the apex court’s direction that the “unblemished track record” of the company be considered in the auctioning.

“Do you want extra weightage for this (unblemished track record). Who will then take part in the auction?,” the bench asked, adding, “how are you (IHCL) visualising that the NDMC will violate the Supreme Court order”.

“You (IHCL) can come to court later,” the bench said.

Singhvi said that the Tata group has been running the hotel for last 40 years and spent a lot of money on it and the apex court had taken note of it while saying that its unblemished record be considered in the e-auctioning.

The High Court, on May 22, had dismissed the plea of IHCL) challenging the tender procedure for proposed auctioning of the Hotel by the NDMC and had said that the eligibility conditions put in by the civic body are based on “thought and deliberation”.

The company has alleged that an essential condition with respect to its unblemished track record has not been properly factored into the eligibility conditions and it was in contravention of the April 20, last year order of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme court had on April 20 last year allowed the civic agency to e-auction the iconic five-star hotel.

The property, owned by the NDMC, was given to the IHCL on a lease of 33 years. The lease had ended in 2011 and the company was given nine temporary extensions since then on various grounds, with three of them granted last year itself.

The NDMC had announced the e-auction of its premium hotels in Lutyen’s Delhi  Taj Mansingh, The Connaught and Hotel Asian International for a lease period of 33 years.

Supreme Court sets aside Bombay HC order asking MCI to conduct inspection in college

New Delhi:The Supreme Court today set aside a Bombay High Court order directing the Medical Council of India (MCI) to inspect a medical college, where “large-scale deficiencies” were found during an inspection last year, for granting renewal for admission in academic year 2018-2019.

A bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao and M M Shantanagoudar allowed the appeal filed by the MCI, which had challenged the high court’s order asking it to carry out the inspection and submit a report to the Centre before April 30.

The apex court referred to one of its previous judgment, in which it had held that medical education must be taken very seriously and when an expert body certifies that facilities in a medical college were inadequate, it was not for the courts to interfere with the assessment except for reasons like mala fides of the inspection team or others.

“In view of the large-scale deficiencies found in the inspection report dated September 25, 2017 and September 26, 2017…the respondent no. one and two (Vedantaa Institute of Academic Excellence Pvt Ltd and Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences) are not entitled to claim another inspection,” the bench said.

“For the aforementioned reasons, the judgment of the high court is set aside and the appeal is allowed,” it said.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the MCI, had argued in the apex court that in view of deficiencies found in the inspection conducted last year, there was no question of an opportunity being given to the institute to rectify these deficiencies.

The counsel appearing for the institute and college had argued that inspection was not conducted in a fair manner and the committee’s report does not represent the correct picture.

The Centre had told the apex court that standards fixed by the MCI were the bare minimum and have to be strictly complied with to ensure maintenance of basic minimum standards of medical education.

The Centre had issued a letter of permission in May last year to the institute to admit the first batch of 150 students for the academic year 2017-2018.

The inspection for granting the first renewal for admission of students for academic year 2018-2019 was conducted by an MCI panel on September 25 and 26 last year.

After several deficiencies were pointed out, MCI’s executive committee decided to recommend to the Centre to invoke the Establishment of Medical College Regulation, 1999 and disapprove the application of institute for renewal of permission of MBBS course second batch for academic year 2018-2019.

The matter then reached the high court which held that inspection conducted by the committee was not fair.

Supreme Court seeks reply on plea for CBI probe into Junaid lynching case

The Supreme Court today sought the Centre’s response on a plea seeking a CBI probe into the Ballabhgarh mob lynching case in which 17-year-old Junaid Khan was stabbed to death on a train in June last year.

A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and M M Shantanagoudar also stayed the trial in the case till further orders.

Junaid’s father has challenged the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s November 27 last year order, refusing a CBI probe into the matter, and sought that the accused be booked under offences of hate crimes.

Junaid’s father Jalaluddin, through his counsel, had filed the petition on October 26 last year in the high court, seeking a probe by an independent agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Junaid lynching case.

He had also demanded a stay on the trial in a Faridabad court in connection with the killing of Junaid.

Junaid, who had boarded a Mathura-bound train from Delhi, was allegedly stabbed to death when he, along with his brothers and cousins, was returning home to Khandawali village after shopping for Eid in Delhi in June.

His body was dumped near Asaoti village in Faridabad district.

I was pressurised to withdraw Loya plea in SC : Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla

A Congress leader, who filed a plea in the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe into the alleged mysterious death of Special CBI judge B H Loya, today alleged he was pressurised by a senior advocate to withdraw his petition.

Congress leader Tehseen Poonawalla, who had filed the petition, said just before his plea was to be heard this morning in the court of Justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar, the senior advocate had pressurised him to withdraw the petition.

He, however, refused to divulge the name of the senior lawyer.

“I have full faith in the judiciary. I have nothing to do with the politics surrounding the case. I was called names but I refused to back off. I requested my advocate on record to argue the matter despite the pressure,” Poonawalla said.

He said he had told the senior advocate that he will not withdraw the petition as “I have full belief in the institution.

Source : PTI