Centre moves to eliminate chance of attachment of Delhi Metro properties | Delhi News

NEW DELHI: The Union housing and urban affairs ministry has proposed an amendment in Metro Rail (Operation and Maintenance) Act to eliminate any possibility of attachment of assets, properties or bank accounts of any metro rail administration even in case of any court order.
The amendment proposal comes days after the ministry submitted to Delhi High Court about its decision to “refrain” from giving any sanction to attach the moveable and immovable assets of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to pay the arbitration award amount to Reliance Infrastructure-led DAMEPL in the Airport Express Line case.
Subsequently, Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri directed officials to revisit the provision of attachment in the Metro Rail Act to ensure no properties or bank accounts of such entities could be attached ever. The proposed change in the law, if passed by Parliament or as an ordinance, will prove to be a big relief for Metro Rail entities across the country.
The ministry has circulated the proposed amendments in Section-89 of the Act among different ministries and has sought their feedback within a fortnight, sources said.
The proposed amendment says that “no stock, metro railway tracks, machinery, plant, tools, fittings, materials or effects used or provided by metro railway administration for the purpose of traffic on its railway, or its stations or workshops, or offices or earnings or any parcel of land held by Metro Rail Administration shall be liable to be taken in execution of any decree or order of any court or any local authority or person having by law the power to attach or distrain property or otherwise to cause the property to be taken in execution”.
The current provision says that attachment of any Metro Rail property requires the sanction of the central government. “This change in the law will ensure no attachment of Metro Rail assets (including financial assets) pursuant to any execution processes carried out by any court in the country,” a source said. The inclusion of “earnings or any parcel of land”, which is currently not in the Act, will give further protection to Metro Rail entities, which are at present unable to generate enough revenue for running the services.
The government proposes to do away with Section 89(2) in the current Act, which says that earnings of Metro Rail entities could be attached by a court in execution.
While refusing to give the sanction for attachment of DMRC properties, the ministry had informed the HC that such a decision would result in “closure of DMRC, bringing the entire city to a halt”. It had said such a situation would not only cause the gravest of public inconvenience but also lead to “alarming situation where law and order in the city could be at stake”.
It had said: “The central government being a custodian of public good cannot allow a lethal situation like this to arise.”
The ministry had said that the government was being asked to give sanction to attach DMRC properties to pay a company which abandoned or deserted the services of the airport metro line in the first few years of a 30-year contract.

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