Judicial Process Must Not Be Allowed To Be Misused For Personal Gains: SC [Read Order]
SC orders hotel owner to pay over Rs. 2.4 cr to Panaji Corporation as ‘reimbursement’ of profits.
It is not possible for us to allow an individual to misuse the judicial process for personal gains, the CJI-headed bench said.
Giving a stern message to a hotel owner who misused ‘stay orders’ of the courts to make ‘personal gains’, the Supreme Court has ordered him to deposit an amount of Rs. 2,40,90,000 with Panaji Corporation, as reimbursement of profits earned by him for using unauthorizedly constructed hotel rooms for the past 11 years to his benefit.
All started with a PIL filed before the Goa bench of Bombay High Court, wherein it was alleged that certain construction violations were committed by Hotel Menino Regency. The court, though allowed to seek compounding of the violation from the corporation, had ordered demolition of the construction on the balconies and an undertaking was submitted before the high court.
The corporation, considering the application of hotel owner, allowed compounding, subject to condition that he will demolish decorative columns on ground floor and six rooms on fifth floor of the building.
The hotel did neither demolish the balcony as per its undertaking given to high court nor did it comply with conditions in the compounding order. The high court then took suo motu contempt proceedings against it.
The hotel owner then moved the apex court, which stayed the contempt proceedings and the order of the high court directing demolition of the construction on the balconies.
In view of this stay order and pendency of his appeal before the apex court, the unauthorised construction made by the hotel was not removed by the hotel owner.
“The appellant has misused the judicial process, whereby the appellant neither complied with the undertaking given to the High Court, nor complied with the terms and conditions of the regularization/ compounding order dated 20.12.2005. The appellant, therefore, used six rooms on the fifth floor for the last 11 years to his benefit, merely because this Court had protected the appellant from contempt proceedings, initiated against him by the High Court,” the bench said.
The bench headed by the Chief Justice of India said it could not allow an individual to misuse the judicial process for personal gains.
The assessment of profits gained by the hotel was done in the following manner: “We would assume, that the daily rent of each room would be at least Rs. 1,000/-. In such view of the matter, the appellant would have earned approximately Rs. 2,40,90,000 (Rs. 1,000 x 6 (rooms) x 365 (days in a year) x 11 (years) = Rs. 2,40,90,000).”
The court then said since the hotel has been benefited to the above extent, it must reimburse Rs. 2,40,90,000, representing the profits earned by it, to the Corporation of the City of Panaji, Goa, within two months.
Read the Order here.