New Delhi: Given that Railways PSU IRCTC is the "absolute owner" of luxury tourist train Maharaja Express, the Delhi High Court has set aside its earlier order to the state enterprise to run it jointly with UK's travel firm Cox & Kings as an interim measure.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul set aside the court's single-judge bench order, saying it is of "prima facie view" that the interim arrangement was not justified and legally sustainable.
"This is the prima facie view we hold, (that) it is difficult to make interim arrangement and pass an order in the nature of mandatory injunction directing continuation of the earlier arrangement which has been terminated by IRCTC. After all, it is to be borne in mind that the IRCTC is the absolute owner of the train in question and the said train belongs exclusively to IRCTC," the division bench observed.
The court also brushed aside the Cox & Kings (C&K) counsel argument that it should be allowed to run the train jointly with Indian Railway catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd as the train had earned worldwide reputation due to the efforts of the travel agency.
"Maharaja Express has earned worldwide name and is one of the premier luxury trains in the world tourism. No doubt, that is true.  However, that would not mean that C&K has acquired indefeasible right to run this train. Purpose can be served if the train runs as usual but by the IRCTC on its own or with the aid and addition of some other party," the court added.