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HC directs Escorts Hospital to approach Arbitrator on land issue

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, April 4 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today directed the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre (EHIRC) to approach the Arbitrator to iron out the issues relating to the cancellation of the lease of its land by the Delhi Development Authority(DDA) at Okhla in South Delhi.

Justice Pradeep Nandrajog said, ''As per the petitioners the lease(s) contain an arbitration clause which is wide enough and includes within its ambit adjudication of a dispute before the Arbitrator pertaining to adherence with the terms of lease.'' The Court also said that the issue was wide open as the Escorts Hospial authorities had filed another petition in the High Court before another bench seeking interim protection from being dispossessed from the land by the DDA.

On October 6, 2005, the DDA ordered the EHIRC for eviction from the 6.9 acres land as Hospital authorities allegedly did not provide free beds to 25 per cent poor patients and transferred the hospital to the Ranbaxy-owned Fortis Group for Rs 650 crore. The land was allotted at a concessional rate to the Escorts Group led by late H P Nanda for establishing a charitable hospital and the hospital authorities were not supposed to transfer the ownership of the land to a third party.

The EHIRC was established as a society in 1981 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

Between April 8, 1982 and June 14, 1996, the DDA under the Urban Development Ministry allotted the land to the EHIRC for setting up the multi-speciality high-tech hospital.

However, Escorts owner Rajan Nanda establised another stock company at Chandigarh and amalgamated the EHIRC with it on April 1, 2000. The amalgamated society was registered as a limited company on June 30, 2000 before selling it to the Fortis Group.

The matter is also pending before Justice Anil Kumar, another Judge of the Delhi High Court.

The Court had directed Mr Nanda to maintain status quo and should not transfer its ownership till the matter was decided.

''There is prima facie evidence that some alleged violation has been perpetuated in the deal,'' the Judge had said.

Mr Nanda's estranged brother Anil Nanda, in a petition, alleged that the hospital was being sold violating all rules and regulations as it was established as a charitable institute.

''Late H P Nanda, the founder of Escorts Group of Companies, had conceived the idea of setting up a charitable institute of world fame, to help the weaker sections of society and to create a medical infrastructure for the citizens of India. It is with this vision that EHIRC-Delhi was formed as a charitable society,'' said the petition.


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