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Indian Case Summary

Overnite Express Limited vs Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on 12 June, 2020 – Case Summary

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In the case of Overnite Express Limited vs Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, adjudicated by the Delhi High Court on 12 June 2020, the dispute revolved around the licensing of commercial spaces at the New Delhi Metro Station of the Delhi Airport Express Line of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) network. The petitioner, Overnite Express Limited, had won the bid for these spaces and had entered into four separate license agreements with the DMRC.

The petitioner filed the case under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, seeking the court’s direction to the DMRC to hand over the licensed area on an ‘as is where is basis’, i.e., restore the licensed areas to the pre-bid status, including the reinstallation of power, cables, etc. The petitioner also sought to prevent the DMRC from raising invoices or any other amount towards the license fee for up to 180 days after handing over the licensed areas and to make the elevators, escalators, and other utilities functional.

The petitioner contended that the DMRC materially altered and damaged the areas by removing cables, fixtures, damaging the ceiling, and making the lifts and escalators from the concourse level to the first floor non-operational. The petitioner argued that these alterations substantially affected the substratum of the license agreements and the agreed terms of providing the premises on an ‘as is where is basis’.

The DMRC, on the other hand, argued that the petitioner was well aware of the existing condition of the site and the facilities thereon at the time of the pre-bid site visit. The DMRC contended that the petitioner’s allegations were false and frivolous, and the petitions were filed only to seek an extension of the ‘rent-free fitment period’ and avoid payment of the license fee.

The court heard arguments from both sides, with the petitioner’s counsel arguing that the DMRC had breached the agreement, while the DMRC’s counsel contended that the petitions were not maintainable as none of the prayers sought therein could be granted in law. The court’s decision was pending at the time of the report.