Supreme Court requests Kal Airways response to SpiceJet settlement proposal

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India’s Supreme Court on Thursday requested Kal Airways’ response to SpiceJet’s bid for full settlement of the dispute over the share transfer between SpiceJet and its former promoter Kalanithi Maran, and its Kal Airways company.

The Bench asked Airways to review and reconsider the following proposal from SpiceJet, and decide if the offer is feasible for them:

  • Spicejet will give 300 Crores, but there will be a final settlement of the dispute and there will be no further litigation.

Or

  • Of the 270 crore bank guarantee lodged by Spicejet with the High Court, it will give 100 crore and the Court may issue directions regarding the speedy hearing of Section 34 petitions pending in the Delhi High Court.

The bench requested the response by February 14, 2022.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli was hearing a claim filed by KAL Airways seeking cancellation of stay granted by the Supreme Court on the order of the Delhi High Court ordering SpiceJet to deposit Rs 243 crore in their dispute.

The request was filed as part of SpiceJet’s special leave application challenging orders passed by the Delhi High Court in 2020 in a share transfer dispute between Maran and the airlines.

The High Court, through contested orders, had ordered the airlines and its promoter Ajay Singh to deposit Rs 243 crore as interest payable on Rs 579 crore, which the Delhi High Court had ordered them to pay in 2017 under the 2018 arbitration award in the share transfer dispute.

The court had ordered SpiceJet Ltd to deposit the amount at the court registry in the arbitration with its former owner Kalanithi Maran and his company, KAL Airways.

In that order, the High Court also ordered the airlines to make payment within six weeks, failing which Maran was granted freedom to go to court to seek a standstill on SpiceJet’s stake.

The amount of ₹243 crore is on top of the ₹579 crore that SpiceJet has already filed with the court.

The Delhi High Court in 2017 ordered SpiceJet to deposit Rs 579 crore in the share transfer dispute. Judges S Ravindra Bhat and Yogesh Khanna dismissed SpiceJet’s Aajay Singh’s appeal against the single judge’s July 2016 order asking the budget carrier to deposit the amount.

The Division bench, however, provided some relief to SpiceJet by allowing it to file Rs 579 crore in two instalments as the single judge ordered the same to be filed in 12 months.

Singh had challenged the single judge’s order in a civil suit brought by group leader Sun Kalanithi Maran and his Kal Airways.

In their action, Maran and his airline had sought the issuance of equity warrants in SpiceJet pursuant to a 2015 purchase and sale agreement (SPA) which led to the transfer of ownership of the budget carrier to Ajay Singh.

Maran and Kal Airways had alleged that despite giving Rs 579 crore to SpiceJet, the carrier had not issued them the warrants or allocated tranches one and two of the redeemable convertible preferred shares and that the amount had not not been used to pay statutory dues for which they were also being sued.

Case Title: SpiceJet Limited & Anr v Kalanithi Maran, SpiceJet Limited & Anr v Kal Airways, SLP (C) 12882-83/2020

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