The Bombay High Court today imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on Hotel Leela Venture Limited for "forum-hunting" by seeking that their pleas, challenging eviction proceedings initiated against it by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), be heard by a single judge bench.
payment of dues.
It had also filed an arbitration petition seeking to amicably resolve the dispute.
Initially, the hotel's counsels sought for all the matters to be heard by a division bench.
The petitions were then placed before a division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla.
However, the hotel's lawyer, Deepak Khosla, said today that the arbitration petition can be heard only by a single judge bench.
"The arbitration petition should be transferred to a single judge bench and the other two petitions should also be clubbed along with it," Khosal told the court.
The division bench, however, got irked with this and said earlier the hotel's lawyers had moved the high court's chief justice seeking for all petitions to be clubbed and heard by a division bench.
"This is a clear abuse of the process of law. This is forum-hunting (bench-hunting). We deprecate such behaviour by litigants," Justice Oka said.
The bench imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the hotel and directed it to deposit the amount within four weeks.
"The stay on the eviction proceedings initiated by us before the eviction officer under Chapter 5 (A) of the Airports Authority of India Act has been vacated by the court today. This means the proceedings can begin," AAI counsel Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said.
According to the AAI, Hotel Leela Venture had defaulted on payments and also violated certain other clauses in their agreement. The AAI had initially asked the hotel to repay dues or hand over possession of the land.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)