[ecis2016.org] The Supreme Court has said that it would be better if the court appointed an arbitrator, in the dispute between actor Dilip Kumar and Prajita Developers, over the development of a prime Pali Hill property in Mumbai’s Bandra area
The Supreme Court, on August 21, 2017, favoured appointing an arbitrator, to resolve the dispute between 95-year-old thespian actor Dilip Kumar and a real estate property developer, over the development of his prime Pali Hill property in the posh Bandra area of Mumbai. The apex court observed that it will be better for the warring parties, if an arbitrator is appointed by it to resolve the dispute.
A bench comprising justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer, reserved its verdict on the plea of real estate firm Prajita Developers Pvt Ltd. “You (real estate firm) want to appoint your arbitrator and they want their own arbitrator. It will be better if we appoint an arbitrator, to resolve the dispute,” the bench observed. Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for the developer, said that status quo should be maintained at the property, till the dispute is resolved through an arbitrator. “It will be better if the court appoints a sole arbitrator, to resolve the issue but till then status quo should be maintained,” he said. Chidambaram said they were in possession of the property since 2010 and would not construct anything and protect it, till the dispute is resolved through a sole arbitrator.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the actor, pointed out that Kumar was 95 years old and wanted to visit the property, being a stakeholder. He said the actor had not been able to enjoy the property, as the developers had not been able to raise the building as per the agreements. To this, Chidambaram said he was most welcome at the property and no one has stopped him.
Senior advocate Shyam Divan, said he was appearing for a firm, which was party to the original tripartite agreement. He said that Prajita Developers did not have a majority stake in the agreement. Chidambaram said the agreement was between the original owner of the property and the developer and there was no third party in it. The bench, however, said it will pass an order.
In March 2016, the apex court had granted relief to Dilip Kumar, by rejecting a plea to restrain him from creating third party rights over the Pali Hill property, till the arbitration of the dispute with a private developer. The apex court had, however, said that there was an impending arbitration and the arbitrators will proceed, to decide the dispute between the parties as and when the arbitration proceedings take place, uninfluenced by any observation.
According to the original agreement, the owner, as well as the developers, had to share 50 per cent each of residential flats to be built on the land. Prajita Developers had, thus, obtained the leasehold rights in the property, together with the bungalow standing thereon, by virtue of a lease on September 25, 1953. However, the developer had failed to raise any constructions. The Bombay High Court had, in 2016, rejected the plea of the realty firm.
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