Petitioners had challenged the closure of HAL
airport and also levy of UDF
‘BIAL could increase the UDF only after it
enhanced the facilities’
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Friday told the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) that the collection of user development fee (UDF) would depend on the result of the writ petition and in case the petition against BIAL was allowed it would have to refund the UDF from the people it had so far collected.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Deepak Verma and Justice Subash B. Adi passed the order on public interest litigation (PIL) petitions by G.R. Mohan, an advocate from Bangalore, B. Krishna Bhat, also of Bangalore, employees of Airports Authority of India and several others.
The petitioners had challenged the closure of the HAL airport and also the levy of UDF of Rs. 260 per domestic passenger by BIAL. Mr. Mohan had filed an interlocutory application (IA) seeking a stay against the collection of UDF.
When the matter came up, Mr. Mohan alleged that BIAL itself in its counter had admitted that HAL was earlier collecting UDF of Rs. 225 per domestic passenger and that it was now collecting Rs. 260 per passenger. He said this meant that passengers were still being asked to shell out Rs. 225 in the ticket in addition to Rs. 260 levied by BIAL. He said BIAL could only collect the difference amount of Rs. 35 and not Rs. 260. Moreover, it was the AAI and not the BIAL that could collect UDF. Senior advocate Uday Holla, appearing for BIAL, said UDF was being collected under the Aircraft Rules and Aircraft Act and not under the AAI Act. He said the UDF would have to be collected till BIAL recovered the money it had invested.
The Bench suggested to BIAL that it could increase the UDF only after it enhanced the facilities available. It also said that BIAL would have to pay back the UDF it had so far collected in case the petitioners won the case. Mr. Holla said BIAL would refund the UDF if the ticket showing the collection of the levy was produced. The Bench adjourned further hearing of the case.