This is one of the landmark judgement passed by the Supreme Court of India wherein the Goan Hotelier have been asked to pay the huge fine illegal encroachment and constrictions of six rooms on the fifth floor of the hotel without the permission from the concern authorities. This judgement may work out as the lesson for the others who are also involved in the similar practices.

According to the sources, a Panaji-based hotel has been ordered by the Supreme Court to pay rupees 2.4 crore fine to the CCP (Corporation of City of Panaji) for illegal construction of six rooms and for renting them out for the period of eleven years despite the orders from HC (High Court) to demolish them.

The order issued by the Supreme Court to the owner of the Hotel Menino Regency states that, “Inacio Fernandes, the owner of Hotel Menino Regency, misused the judicial process by not complying with the order of the Panaji Bench of the Bombay High Court for demolishing the illegal structures, and thus forfeited all earnings made from the six rooms.

According to the sources, the court has fixed the daily rent of each room at Rs 1,000 and calculated the hotel’s earnings over the period of eleven years to fix the amount to be paid by the hotel to the CCP. A bench comprises of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said that “It is not possible for us to allow an individual to misuse the judicial process for personal gains. We would venture an assessment of the profits that might have been earned by the appellant for the last 11 years. 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 1000 x 6 (rooms) x 365 (days in a year) x 11 (years). Since the appellant has been benefited to the above extent, he must reimburse the amount, representing the profits earned by him to the corporation,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court further directed the owners of the hotel to deposit the said amount within two months time failing to which, the same would be recovered by the corporation as arrears of land revenue.

According to the sources, the litigation over the unauthorized construction began in 2004 when the PIL was filed in the high court against the malpractices carried out the by the hotel management. The Bombay High Court Bench in Goa in 2005 had directed the owners to remove the structures which violated the approved plan. The hotel owners moved an application before North Goa Planning and Development Authority for regularization of the unauthorized structures. The Authority allowed structures constructed on the balconies but directed demolition of six rooms on the fifth floor within a period of sixty days.

Despite the order of High Court the Hotel owners failed to comply with it and thus caused the contempt of the court. The High Court initiated the contempt proceedings against the owner of the hotel and directed him to demolish the structures. The owner subsequently rushed to the Supreme Court in 2007 but Supreme Court did not provide much relief him and instead took the strong exception of the conduct of the owner and ordered him to pay the fine.                   

The SC said: “We are satisfied that the appellant has misused the judicial process, whereby he neither complied with the undertaking given to the high court nor complied with the terms and conditions of the regularization/compounding order. He, therefore, used six rooms on the fifth floor for the last 11 years to his benefit merely because this court had protected him from contempt proceedings, initiated against him by the high court,” the bench said.

NEWS SOURCE: TOI

IMAGE SOURCE: DECCAN CHRONICLE

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