Revisit provision that no metro properties can be attached

01 Mar 2023

Asserting that the Delhi Metro is the lifeline of the national capital and its surrounding areas, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has directed officials to reconsider a Metro Railways Act provision that would prevent the metro's properties or bank accounts from ever being attached.

Puri made the remark in a document attached to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs' supplemental affidavit submitted in the Delhi High Court on March 3. He declined to provide permission to attach Delhi Metro properties, claiming that it has become the lifeline of Delhi and the National Capital Region, with lakhs of people relying on it for a living.

This comes just days after the Delhi High Court directed the Centre to rule on whether to grant sanction for attaching moveable and immovable assets of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) in order to pay the unpaid amount of an arbitral award to the Reliance Infrastructure-promoted Delhi Airport Metro Express (DAMEPL).

According to the minister, the Delhi Metro serves around 60 lakh passengers in the Delhi-NCR on a daily basis.

"The Central Government is being asked to give approval to attach DMRC properties to pay a corporation that abandoned/deserted the airport metro line services in the first few years of a 30-year contract," the minister added.

He stated that any negative outcome that causes the public utility to come to a halt could result in a significant law-and-order problem spanning roughly 400 kilometres of the metro network.

"I further direct the division to reconsider and revise Section 89 of the Metro Act, 2002, to make it absolute, so that no attachment of its properties, bank accounts, or other assets or operations can ever be carried out," Puri added.

Manoj Joshi, the secretary in the ministry, stated in his own notation in the document attached to the affidavit, "Given the backdrop of the case and in light of public interest, we should not allow for sanction attachment of DMRC assets."

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