Supreme Court: In a special leave petition filed by Cinema Ventures Private Limited (petitioner) challenging the order passed by Delhi High Court wherein it held that Dart Properties Private Limited (respondent) has the right to walk into the premises, take it over and start running the cinema hall. A division bench of Aniruddha Bose and Sanjay Karol, JJ., refused to interfere with the impugned order, thus retaining the right of the respondent to walk over the premises and run the cinema hall.
The impugned order arises from a contempt petition filed by Dart Properties Private Limited under Article 215 of the Constitution with Sections 11 and 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 highlighting the wilful and deliberate non-compliance by the Director, Cinema Ventures Private Limited (respondent/contemnor) of the order dated 02-03-2023 passed by the Court whereby an undertaking was given stating that on payment of the outstanding amount, the keys of the premises will be handed over to the respondent and in case of non-compliance, the petitioner will attain full right to walk into the premises, take it over and operate the cinema hall.
Further, the contempt petition arises from an appeal filed by Dart Properties under Section 37(1)(b) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The CInema Ventures Private Limited were tenants in the property (cinema hall) of the DPPL at Ansal Plaza, Palam Vihar, Gurugram. The CVPL failed to pay a single penny to the appellant herein until May 2022 and was directed to stop operations till payment of dues. Assailing the issue of non-payment of commercial charges/ rent, the DPPL had initially filed petitions under Section 9 and Section 11(6) of the Arbitration Act which was disposed of in view of the conciliation award directing a 50% waiver for a period of 9 months of Covid-19 and the total amount payable as per the award was INR 1.64 crores.
Delhi High Court vide order dated 02-03-2023, an undertaking was agreed between the parties to the dispute Mr. Prasanth Narayan, Director-CVPL is ready and willing to pay an amount of Rs. 50,00,000/- on or before 31-03-2023 to DPPL, whereupon the keys of the property i.e., the cinema hall will be handed over to them. Any default in compliance with the undertaking towards payments, either in terms of the quantum or the date fixed, would give the right to the appellant to walk into the premises, take over the premises, and run the cinema hall, without any delay or hindrance from the respondent.
Delhi High Court vide order dated 06-04-2023 noted that Cinema Ventures Pvt. Ltd. neither filed the undertaking as assured to the court nor made any payment but rather continued to be in possession of the property. Thus, in terms of undertaking/agreement between the parties vide order dated 02-03-2023, the DPPL has the right to walk onto the premises, take it over and start running the cinema hall. The default by CVPL cannot undo the understanding nor resile from it.
The Supreme Court thus refused to interfere with the impugned order dated 06-04-2023 passed by the Delhi High Court.
[Cinema Ventures Private Limited v Dart Properties Private Limited, SLP No. 15310 of 2023, decided on 23-05-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Chinmoy Pradip Sharma, Senior Advocate with Mr. Mohit Paul, AOR; Mr. Irfan Hasieb, Ms. Rangoli Seth, Mr. Krishnajyoti Deka and Mr. Rishabh Munjal Advocates for the Petitioner;
Ms. Malvika Trivedi. Sr. Advocate with Mr. Swarnendu Chatterjee, AOR; Ms. Deepakshi Garg, Mr. Yashwardhan Singh, Ms. Megha Saha and Mr. Sujal Gupta, Advocates for the Respondents.