District Court dismisses Cornel’s case filed in 1998 against Hotel Developers

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 00:58 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The District Court of Colombo has dismissed Cornel Perera’s action on Hotel Developers (Lanka) Plc since the since the Plaintiff cannot maintain the case filed way back in 1998. The case bearing No 5095/Spl was filed by Cornel and Co., Ltd in 1998 against Hotel Developers (Lanka) PLC – Owners of Hilton Colombo and four others. The defendants were Mitsui and Co., Ltd, Taisei Corporation, Attorney General, Nihal Sri Ameresekere and Hotel Developers (Lanka) PLC. The case sought an Injunction to prevent the implementation of a series of Settlement Agreements entered into between parties other than Cornel & Company which it claimed was the majority shareholder of Hotel Developers. An Enjoining Order was granted by Court pending the determination of the other issues of the case against the implementation of the Settlement Agreements signed in June 1995. Defendants preferred Appeals to the Court of Appeal which affirmed the issuance of the Enjoining Order subject to certain variations.  Affected parties appealed to the Supreme Court against the Order of the Court of Appeal. On 11 November 2011 the entire share holding of the Company Hotel Developers was vested with the Government of Sri Lanka in terms of the Revival of the Underperforming Enterprises or Underutilised Assets Act No. 43 of 2011. On 25 November 2013 the Appeals pending in the Supreme Courts were dismissed on the grounds that Cornel and Co., Ltd. was no longer a shareholder of the Company and therefore it had no locus standi to proceed any further. When the case was taken up in the District Court last week, the learned Senior Counsel for the 5th Defendant – Hotel Developers, Romesh de Silva P.C. stated that the Case should be dismissed on the following grounds: The Case was filed by Cornel and Company Ltd, the Plaintiff, in its capacity as a share holder, but Cornel & Co., Ltd. is no longer a shareholder and The basis for requesting the Court to terminate this case is on the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court on 5 August 2013 and 25 November 2013 . Senior Counsel appearing for the 5th Defendant stated that the Order issued by the Supreme Court on 25 November 2013 refers to the Order issued by the Supreme Court on 5 August 2013. It is clear, that the Plaintiff has no right to go ahead with this case and therefore requested the District Court to terminate proceedings as per the two orders issued by the Supreme Court. Counsel appearing on behalf of the Plaintiff submitted that the Court could not terminate this proceeding in accordance with the above mentioned Supreme Court Orders and requested the matter be fixed for trial. The learned District Court Judge in her judgement said: “I have perused the two Supreme Court Orders. It is clearly stated by the Hon. Chief Justice in the Order dated 5 August 2013 as follows: ‘consequently, the basis of the original action before the District Court would not be available to the Plaintiff any longer.’ The order dated 25 November 2013 made by the Hon. Chief Justice states as follows: ‘in the circumstances it would be safe for the District Court to terminate the proceedings as the Plaintiff’s case is no longer available to the Plaintiff’.” “Therefore, since the Plaintiff cannot maintain the Case, it is safe for the District Court to terminate the proceedings. It is noted in the Supreme Court Order that proceedings in this Case could not be continued for the above mentioned reasons,” the Judge said. On this basis the District Judge refused the request made by the Plaintiff’s Counsel to proceed to trial and dismissed the Plaintiff’s action.