Centre proposes changes in Act to prevent attachment of metro rail properties
The existing Section 89(2) conveys that the earnings of the metro railway could be attached by a court in execution. It is now proposed that Section 89(2) be deleted altogether.
Published: 28th March 2023 07:43 PM | Last Updated: 28th March 2023 07:43 PM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: The ministry of housing and urban affairs has proposed amendments to the Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Act to prevent the attachment of metro rail properties including financial assets pursuant to any execution processes carried out by the courts.
The revision in the Act was proposed after the Delhi High Court asked the Centre to decide on the issue of granting sanction for attaching moveable and immovable assets of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for paying the unpaid amount of arbitral award to Reliance Infrastructure-promoted Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL).
"The need to amend section 89 of the Metro Rail (Operation & Maintenance) Act, 2002 has been felt in view of the recent order passed by the High Court of Delhi in the matter of the Delhi DAMEPL v/s Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC)…sanction of attachment of properties of DMRC was denied by the Central government as that would entail the closure of DMRC and bringing the entire city to a halt,” read the background note on the proposed amendment prepared by the ministry.
A situation of this kind would not only cause inconvenience to lakhs of common people in Delhi-NCR but also lead to an alarming situation where law and order in the city could be at stake, the note also states.
The Government had already conveyed to the Court that it was not inclined to grant such sanction. The existing provisions in Section 89 provide a sufficient safeguard against any forced suspension of operations as all operational assets of metro railways are in any case beyond the scope of attachment without the prior consent of the Government.
The existing Section 89(2) conveys that the earnings of the metro railway could be attached by a court in execution. It is now proposed that Section 89(2) be deleted altogether, thereby implying that any metro railway organisation would be beyond the purview of courts as regards execution proceedings, unless such organisations voluntarily give consent to suffer such execution proceedings.
“The ministry is of the opinion to amend section 89 to make it absolute so that no attachment of properties or bank accounts or any assets of any metro railways properties can ever be carried out,” the note also states.
An arbitral tribunal, in May 2017, ruled in favour of DAMEPL, which pulled out of running the Airport Express metro line over safety issues. The award was upheld by the high court’s single-judge bench in 2018 but a two-judge bench set it aside in 2019.