THE Supreme Court last week refused New World Ltd’s application seeking a stay order.
Supreme Court Judge Justice Suresh Chandra said the company filed a Notice of Motion for stay or injunction for special leave to appeal.
The application of special leave follows the Fiji Court of Appeal’s decision in favour of the respondents and supermarket landlord in Labasa — Bashir Khan and Vanua Levu Hardware (Fiji) Ltd.
Justice Chandra said the appeal involved a question to interpret Section 13 of the State Lands Act, which required the consent of the Director of Lands in the lease agreement between the two parties.
“The petitioner (New World Ltd), who had been on the premises since 1991, knew very well that after August 2014 their staying on the premises was at risk as the agreement they entered with the respondent had not got the consent of the Director of Lands,” he said.
“As the respondents have a judgment in their favour from the High Court which was affirmed by the Court of Appeal, the question as to what use the respondents would make use of the premises is not relevant as it is their right to choose whatever they wish to do with their premises.
“In their affidavit (New World Ltd), showed an impressive asset base but their being compelled to pay rent at a higher amount for their occupation after August 31, 2014, pending the appeal to the Court of Appeal as a condition for the stay does not speak well of their bona fides.”
Justice Chandra also ordered New World Ltd to pay $1000 each to the respondents.
Landlord and respondent Mr Khan, who is holidaying in Australia, thanked God and his lawyers for a job well done.
“I am an elderly businessman and have been in this battle for many years so I thank God and my lawyers, Haniff Tuitoga, for a superb job.”
This article was first published in The Fiji Times on August 9, 2016.