SC orders Soaltee casino royalty be collected from NRC
Kathmandu, December 31
The Supreme Court today issued writ on petitions filed by Soaltee Hotel in which it had said that the royalty for running its casino should be collected from Nepal Recreation Centre, which had leased its casino.
The SC said the entity which leased and operated the casino should pay royalty to the government. This means that Soaltee Hotel will not have to pay royalty for its casino which was leased and operated by NRC, said Soaltee Hotel’s lawyer Sameer Sharma.
A division bench of Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli and Bam Kumar Shrestha issued the writ as demanded by Soaltee Hotel.
Sharma said the disputed royalty was somewhere between Rs 100 and 120 million. Court sources said the SC had observed that the entity which leased and operated the casino had the responsibility to pay royalty to the government.
According to Sharma, NRC which obtained license to lease and operate casinos had paid royalty, but after a few years it stopped paying royalty to the government arguing that the hotels should themselves pay royalties.
NRC had obtained licence for leasing and operating casinos in 1993. Sharma said the hotel moved the apex court after the government sought to collect royalty from the hotel.
The bench also quashed a writ field by Nepal Recreation Centre. NRC had field the case at the SC on July 25, 2011.
As the royalty row deepened, the government had revoked NRC’ licence to lease and operate casinos. The Soaltee Hotel had filed the two cases on March 3, 2011 and March 31, 2012 at the apex court.
Similarly, the SC also quashed a writ petition filed by Pokhara-based Fulbari Resort in which it had claimed that royalty should be collected from Nepal Recreation Centre, which had leased its casino.
The bench, however, issued a directive order, saying that the definition of sick industry would apply
to the resort, as per court sources. The apex court has not prepared the full texts of the verdicts on any of these cases.