New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has turned
down the plea of Ambuja Hotels and Real Estates to restore its
catering licence for Shatabadi Express, which was terminated
by the Railways after passengers complaint of poor quality.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra dismissed the
plea of the firm and directed it to handover its catering
services to Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation
(IRCTC) by September 9.
"We direct that Ambuja Hotels shall hand over catering
service of the trains in question to respondent-IRCTC on
September 9, 2010," the court said.
The IRCTC had cancelled the catering licence on May 12,
2010, after complaints of poor quality of foodstuff
supplied in the train, one of which was also about cockroaches
in the food.
Following the cancellation, the firm approached the High
Court and contended that termination of the service was not
due to complaints from passengers as they were trivial in
nature, but because of the government`s decision to take over
catering services in Rajdhani and Shatabadi trains.
However, the bench rejected the contention, saying that
it cannot be said that termination of agreement was because of
the government`s decision.
"We are of the view that it cannot be said that
the decision to terminate the appellant`s services was in
pursuance to the Government of India`s decision to take over
catering services of all Rajdhani and Shatabadi trains," the
IRCTC was established for the purposes of upgrading,
running and managing the catering and hospitality services
for Indian Railways and for providing hygienic food and better
services to passengers.
Ambuja Hotels was awarded the contract for providing
catering services in Kalka-Shatabadi Express in 2005-06 for a
period of five years.