Chennai: In a major relief to the Internationally famous Madras Race Club, which conducts the ‘King of Sports’, horse racing, in Tamil Nadu, the Madras high court has paved the way for the sale of its 5-acre Race Hall property, which was hitherto known as Nawabs Gardens and also known as ‘Hunt Lodge’ at Guindy for Rs 300 crore to DLF Universal limited, which wanted to develop the property for a commercial complex/mall.
A division bench comprising Justices R. Subbiah and P. D. Audikesavalu dismissed the appeals filed by A. Viswanathan, a member of the MRC, against an order of a single judge, which dismissed his applications challenging the decision of the Club to sell the property to DLF for Rs 300 crore.
Viswanathan contended that as per the Memorandum of Understanding entered into between MRC and DLF dated February 15, 2011, the sale price was fixed at Rs 325 crore. But due to various reasons, it did not finalise.
However, based on the subsequent offer made by DLF the MRC in its meeting held in January, 2018, decided to sell the property for Rs 300 crore without consulting committee members. Therefore, it was arbitrary. Moreover, it would cause monetary loss to the club. Hence, he filed a suit and applications to restrain the club from selling the property.
The bench said, “in our considered opinion, already the extraordinary general body of the MRC approved the sale for Rs 325 crore in the year 2011. The present offer made by the DLF is for Rs 300 crore apart from the sum of `60 crore already deposited with them, taking the sale price to Rs 360 crore. If the MRC decides to accept the offer for a lesser price than what was agreed, then the question of placing it before the extraordinary general body meeting will arise.
However, in the present case, the offer made by the DLF and which was accepted by the MRC is over and above the sale price agreed earlier. Therefore, we are of the view that there may not be an occasion for the MRC to sustain any monetary loss by reason of acceptance of the offer made by the DLF. In other words, by accepting the offer made by the DLF no prejudice will be caused to the MRC, rather it will only benefit the MRC besides giving a quietus to the long standing deferred transaction between the MRC and DLF”.
The bench said even before the dust, which had emanated in the form of disputes between the MRC and DLF could settle, the appellant has filed the present suit and the applications and attempting to unsettle the settled disputes between the parties.
“The present action of the appellant in instituting the suit and the applications will in no way benefit the interest of the MRC, rather, it would only frustrate the action of the MRC to settle the prolonged sale transaction they have entered with the DLF. We are therefore of the view that the appellant remained as a stumbling block and deprived the MRC to enter into the sale transaction legitimately with the DLF for no cause or reason. Therefore, we are inclined to dismiss this appeal by confirming the order passed by the single judge”, the bench added.