HC directs SR to settle differences through arbitration

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Chennai, Apr 9 (UNI) The Madras High Court today directed the General Manager, Southern Railway,Chennai to settle the differences and disputes between a contractor and the Chief Project Manager(CPM) and the Chief Administrative Officer, Metropolitan Transport projet (MRTS) through arbitration, within three months from the date of commencing the procedings.

On a petition filed by a contractor T Thiyagarajan, Mr Justice S Rajeswaran also directed the General Manager to settle two agreements between the petitioner and the Chief Project Manager (CPM) through arbitration and settle the differences.

The judge also observed that the petitioner's contract ended in 1998 and it was obvious that he was retaining possession for nearly 12 years and was liable to pay rent arrears to the tune of Rs 83 lakhs.

Considering the fact that eviction proceedings were initiated against the petitoner as per the statute, it was open to the CPM and GM to take further proceedings as per the same statute without resorting to any illegal methods, the judge ordered.

The petitioner submitted that he was one among five contractors for whom the CPM by letters of acceptance awarded the contract, contract for constructing 13 shops in the ground floor of Chintadripet Railway station and three offices in the Mezzanine floor of the same station and for letting it out to third parties.

The CPM awarded the contract in 1995 for the period of three years.

The petitioner also submitted that he had invested a sum of Rs 15 lakhs to construct shops. But due to various lapses committed by the CPM and very poor passenger traffic, the shops were not occupied for years and power supply was provided by the railway authorities only in February 1999 only.

He also submitted that a dispute arose between the parties invoking clause 16 of the terms and conditions of the tender and he had called upon the CPM through a letter to appoint an arbitrator.

But as there was no respose from the CPM, he moved the court and sought appointment of a retired judicial officer as the sole arbitrator to settle the differences and restrain the GM and CPM of Southern Railways from interferring in retaining possession of the shops and offices in the Chinthadripet Railway station.

The judge cited several judgements of the Supreme Court and rejected the plea for appointment of a retired judicial officer as arbitrator and directed the GM Southern Railways to arbitrate and settle the issue.


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