delhi high court

Delhi High Court: An application was filed by Kal Airways (decree holder) seeking payment from Spice Jet Limited (judgment debtor), of amount of Rs.75 crores to the decree-holder within a period of three months towards the liability on account of interest pending disposal of a petition under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and in the event of default in compliance of the order. Yogesh Khanna, J., held that the judgment debtor had failed to pay an amount of Rs.75 crores to decree holder, hence in terms of para 15(ii) of the order dated 13-02-2023 of the Supreme Court, there is no other alternative except to call upon the judgment debtors to deposit the entire outstanding amount qua interest forthwith.

As per reports, the matter relates to contractual obligations which led to SpiceJet’s failure to deposit 243 crore to Kalanithi Maran, Sun Group media giant Chairman and the airline’s erstwhile promoter, who thus, filed a petition with the Delhi High Court in 2020 seeking attachment of Ajay Singh’s shares, promoter of SpiceJet. The money was directed to be transferred in three weeks. A request for reconsideration of the order was made by the airline which was thereby denied.

The order was challenged before Supreme Court, wherein an order dated 13-02-2023 was passed whereby the bank guarantee was directed to be encashed immediately and proceeds were directed to be paid directly to the decree-holder.

In 2017, the decree-holder filed a lawsuit against the judgment debtor for allegedly creating losses by refusing to give KAL Airways convertible warrants and preference shares. After a protracted legal battle, SpiceJet finally paid Mr. Maran a principal sum of Rs. 579.08 crore, but the interest component was still outstanding. The interest was worth 242 crore in October 2020, 362 crores in February 2023, and 380 crores in total.

Counsel for judgment debtor submitted that they have already paid principal amount of Rs.579.08 crores and now the payment only qua interest is pending and have filed an application seeking extension of time before the Supreme Court. Counsel for the decree-holder submitted that the Court has no power to extend the time limit as was granted by the Supreme Court per order dated 13-02-2023.

The Court noted that the arguments of the decree-holder appear plausible as there is no modification of order dated 13-02-2023 passed by the Supreme Court, hence it needs to be followed.

The Court directed the judgment debtor to deposit the entire outstanding amount qua interest.

[Kal Airways Pvt Ltd v Spicejet Ltd., 2023 SCC OnLine Del 3348, decided on 29-05-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Maninder Singh, Senior Advocate with Ms. Nandini Gore, Ms. Sonia Nigam, Mr. Yash Dubey, Mr. Yashwant Gaggar, Mr. Prabhas Bajaj, Advocates for decree holder;

Mr. Sandeep Sethi, Senior Advocate with Mr. Abhinav Sharma, Advocate for judgment debtor.

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