Supreme Court rules Newport premises repossessed rightfully

An aerial shot of Newport View and the bridge-viewing platform run by Strada Private Limited in Lonuziyaaraih Kolhu, Male' City. (File Photo/Strada)

Supreme Court, on Wednesday, has ruled that the land where Newport View restaurant and Bridge Viewing Platform were located had been reopposed by the state rightfully.

Strada Private Limited and Housing Ministry had signed the lease agreement to develop a food outlet and bridge viewing platform in the area on September 22, 2016 – during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s administration. 

The lease agreement was terminated on March 7, 2019, after the former administration came to power, for breach of contract over the company's failure to pay the rent and subsequent fines. The company was also ordered to vacate the premises within one month.

However, Strada failed to vacate the premises as ordered, promoting Housing Ministry Ministry lodging a lawsuit against the company with the Civil Court.

Civil Court ruled against Strada on September 26, 2019, citing the company had no right to use the land following the termination of the agreement. As the company had used the land following the termination of the agreement, the court also ordered Strada to pay rent and fine incurred from the date of termination until the land was handed over to the state.

Strada appealed the decision with the High Court which, on October 12, 2021, upheld the lower court’s ruling. The company subsequently appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s decision, citing no legal grounds to overturn the lower court’s ruling. The apex court also said Strada failed to provide any grounds concerning the argument they were owed damages for repossessing part of the land before the agreement was terminated.

The ruling was the unanimous consensus of the three justices who heard the appeal; Justice Aisha Shujoon, Justice Ali Rasheed Hussain and Justice Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim