New Delhi, India (Metro Rail Today): The Delhi High Court on 17th March 2023 directed the Central Government and the Delhi Government to immediately address Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s request to extend sovereign guarantee, or interest-free debt, to help clear arbitral award dues to Reliance Infrastructure-owned Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited.
“The decision be taken within a period of two weeks from today. If permission is accorded to the DMRC in respect of either of the two modes as suggested by it, it shall proceed to deposit the entire amount payable under the award along with up-to-date interest in terms thereof within one month," said a double bench-led by Justice Yashwant Varma. Delhi Airport Metro Express (a unit of Reliance Infrastructure) approached the court to recover unpaid arbitral award dues of Rs 7,200 crore from DMRC.
"If the Centre and the Delhi government decline the request, the Centre should repatriate all funds received by it from the Delhi Metro after 10 March 2022. Upon receipt of the money, the Delhi Metro shall transfer the dues to Reliance Infrastructure," the court said.
The High Court also warned all respondents to take appropriate action against them if they fail to cpmply the order passed by apex court in the matter. "In case DMRC fails to clear its dues, the court reserves the right to frame further appropriate directions against the Union ministry and the government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD)," the court said.
On 18th January 2023, DMRC, in a ditch effort to pay the dues, submitted before the high court that it had requested the Delhi government and the Centre to provide an interest-free subordinate debt of ₹3,565.64 crore each for paying its arbitration dues owed to Delhi Airport Metro Express Line.
In 2017, Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt. Ltd won a Rs 4,500 crore arbitration award against DMRC. The arbitral tribunal accepted the claim of Delhi Airport Metro Express that running trains on the airport line was not viable due to structural defects in the viaduct made by DMRC.
The Apex Court (Supreme Court of India) in December directed the Delhi high court to execute within three months the arbitral award of Rs 7,200 crore won by the Delhi Airport Metro Express against state-owned DMRC, of which an amount of Rs 2,600 crore has already been disbursed.