Holding that state enterprise Indian Rail Tour Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is the "absolute owner" of luxury tourist train Maharaja Express, Delhi High Court bench comprising of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul set aside its interim order to IRCTC to run this service jointly with Cox & Kings.
The argument put by the Cox & Kings counsel that the worldwide repute earned by the Maharajas Express is due to the marketing effort of the travel agency was set aside by the bench of the court. The bench observed that the fact that the train has earned world wide acclaim and that it is one of the most premier luxury train in the world, though true, does not give Cox & Kings the indefeasible right to run Maharajas Express.
Further, the bench also observed that the purpose (public interest) can be served even if the train runs as usual by the IRCTC on its own or with the aid and addition of some other party.
Howerver, the bench also observed that for the booking made for the train journeys beyond December 2011, IRCTC will take over those bookings from Cox & Kings and will ensure that the train would complete the season, albeit under the supervision of IRCTC to ensure that the third party interest is also not going to suffer.