New Delhi, Jun 1 (IANS): In a setback for SpiceJet, the Delhi High Court has ordered the airline to pay Rs 380 crore to Kalanithi Maran of KAL Airways and also asked it to submit an affidavit of assets within four weeks.
A single judge bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna said: "Since the judgment debtor had failed to pay an amount of Rs 75 crore to decree holder, hence in terms of para 15(ii) of the order dated 13.02.2023 of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, there is no other alternative except to call upon the judgment debtors to deposit the entire outstanding amount qua interest forthwith, thus is so directed. Affidavit of assets be also filed within four weeks from today."
The high court's order came after the Supreme Court's February 13 order, directing SpiceJet to pay Rs 75 crore within three months to KAL Airways, controlled by Kalanithi Maran, the former promoter of SpiceJet. However, the airline failed to do so.
The high court, in its May 29 order, said: "The learned senior counsel for the decree holder submits an amount of Rs 75 crore has not been deposited as yet and hence the interest liability which was Rs 362.49 crore as noted in para 11 of the order dated 13.02.2023 has since increased to Rs 380 crore and thus the decree holder insists for compliance of order dated 13.02.2023."
The high court order originates from a long-running battle between the Maran family and the current promoter, Ajay Singh, and SpiceJet, over contractual obligations.
In the May 29 order, the high court said: "The learned senior counsel for the judgment debtor however submit they have already paid principal amount of Rs 579.08 crore and now the payment only qua interest is pending and they have already moved an application before the Hon'ble Supreme Court for extension of time period for further three months to the judgment debtor to make payment of Rs 75 crore to the decree holder."
The high court said that the arguments of the decree holder appear plausible as admittedly there is no modification of the February 13 order passed by the apex court, hence it needs to be followed.
Senior advocate Maninder Singh assisted by Nandini Gore, Sonia Nigam, Yash Dubey & Mr. Yashwant Gaggar from Karanjawala & Co. appeared on behalf of the Kal Airways.
Counsel representing Kal Airways argued that SpiceJet had failed to comply with the order dated November 4, 2020, issued by the Delhi High Court, by not filing the affidavit of assets.
Additionally, SpiceJet was directed to pay an amount of Rs 242,93,70,845.56 within three weeks from order passed by Delhi High Court on September 2, 2020. SpiceJet sought to modify this order, but their application was rejected. They then challenged these orders before the apex court, which directed them, through an order dated February 13, 2023, to encash the bank guarantee and pay the specified amount directly to Kal Airways. Despite the intervention of the apex court, SpiceJet was also required to pay an additional amount of Rs 75 crore to Kal Airways within three months, representing the liability for interest.
Singh further argued that the amount of Rs 75 crore had not been deposited yet, resulting in an increased interest liability of Rs 380 crore. Singh submitted that the timeline for the payment of the interest amount had already been determined by the Supreme Court, and thus the single judge had no authority to extend the time limit.