Madras HC bins order cancelling lease deal of SRM Hotels

The petitioner has raised loans to the tune of `80 crore, and employed as many as 500 people.
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court(File photo | Express)

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday set aside the rejection order passed by the principal secretary of the tourism department on an application filed by SRM Hotels seeking renewal of lease for 20 years.

Justice G R Swaminathan issued the direction while hearing a petition filed by SRM Hotels Private Limited of Tiruchy seeking to quash the rejection letter (dated June 12), and to direct the principal secretary to pass an appropriate order to renew the lease.

After hearing both sides’ submission, the court said the matter was remitted to the file of the principal secretary, and added that the official would grant a personal hearing to SRM for considering their contentions, and pass a speaking order in accordance with law.

The court further mentioned that the principal secretary did not file any counter affidavit, and hence the counter affidavit filed by TN Tourism Development Corporation Limited (TTDC) was taken as the government’s stance.

The petitioner has raised loans to the tune of Rs 80 crore, and employed as many as 500 people. As per the petitioner’s stand, their investments will go in vain unless the lease period gets renewed for another 20 years, the court noted.

“Even a die hard optimist will not repose trust in TTDC to run a four star hotel. Government staff and institutions are ill-suited for the hospitality industry. In this case, the order was passed without involving the petitioner at all,” stated the court, adding that the petitioner could have been given an opportunity to demonstrate that they were better equipped to run the hotel than TTDC.

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