The Bombay High Court has dismissed an appeal filed by Copper Chimney, a well-known South Mumbai restaurant, against the eviction notice sent by the owners of the premises at Kala Ghoda from where it operates.
Deluxe Caterers, the owner of Copper Chimney, was embroiled in a contractual dispute with the premises owner Trade Wings Ltd and Narayani Hospitality and Academic Institution.
Justice G S Kulkarni on Friday upheld an order passed by the city civil court which refused to restrain the owners from acting on the eviction notice.
The high court allowed Copper Chimney to continue occupation of the premises till February 20, 2023, if it deposited with the proprietor dues of Rs 12 lakh per month owed since October 2022.
The Copper Chimney owner had invoked the `force majeure clause’ citing the COVID-19 pandemic while opposing eviction.
A force majeure clause is a contract provision that relieves the parties from performing their obligations when circumstances beyond their control arise.
The owners of the premises and Copper Chimney had entered into an agreement for the use of the premises for five years starting from October 2017.
The license period expired on September 30, 2022.
But Copper Chimney in March 2022 invoked the force majeure clause seeking ‘suspended animation’ of the agreement till the time the pandemic continued.
It also sought exemption from performing its monetary obligations during this period.
The owner of the premises, however, refused to accept this.
On May 31, 2022, Narayani sent a notice to Copper Chimney stating that the agreement was to expire on September 30, 2022, and the latter should vacate the premises by that date.
Copper Chimney approached the City Civil Court which refused to grant any interim relief. Copper Chimney then moved the HC.
The HC in October 2022 directed the parties to maintain status quo pending hearing of the case.
The court in its order passed on Friday concluded that prejudice would be caused to the owners of the premises if Copper Chimney was allowed to continue to occupy it.