Kerala HC dismisses petitions challenging the leasing out of Thiruvananthapuram airport

A batch of writ petitions challenging the leasing out of Thiruvananthapuram International Airport by Airport Authority of India was dismissed by the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court as it found that there was absolutely no valid ground to interfere in the proceedings that were challenged.

The challenge in the petitions was against the privatisation, the declared policy of the Union Government. Regarding airports, it was Public-Private-Participation, which had been statutorily declared by the incorporation of Section 12A to the Airport Authority of India Act. There was no challenge to the statutory provision of the Act, the court noted.

Interference to a policy framed by the elected Government was trite and difficult. The feeble challenge raised against the government policy was devoid of merit, dismissing the petitions, Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice C.D. Dias concluded.

The State had nominated the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation to bid under the Request For Proposal (RFP) issued by the Airport Authority of India, with a Right of First Refusal on the maximum bid coming within the range of ten per cent. The bid failed and the State and the Corporation turned against the very RFP under which they participated, with an edge over others, the court noted.

The petitions of the Corporation and the State and the case set up by them was a classic example of the proverbial sour grapes, the Bench noted.

The writ petition of the Airport Authority Employees' Union had challenged the Press Note published revealing the approval of the Cabinet for leasing out of three Airports at Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru. Though there was a prayer challenging the lease of all the six airports, the court found that the RFPs were separate which were not produced or challenged. The challenge was confined to the RFP for Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. The petition was liable to be dismissed for the reason that the Letter of Award issued to the successful bidder was not challenged, the court pointed out.

The writs filed by two individuals were filed without establishing their locus standi. The court found them to be mischievous and an abuse of process of the Court and rejected it.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 11:40:36 AM |

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