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Nagpur Airport: Supreme Court posts Airport Authority’s plea against High Court order for detailed hearing after two weeks

The Supreme Court on Friday posted Air Authority of India’s curative petition seeking reconsideration of Bombay High Court’s order allowing GMR Group to operate Nagpur’s Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport for detailed hearing after two weeks.  

A special four judge bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice BR Gavai and Justice JK Maheshwari took note of the submissions of the Centre and the Airport Authority of India that they were not heard during the earlier proceedings.

In August 2021, the Bombay High Court had quashed a March 2020 communication issued by MIHAN India Ltd (Multimodal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur), a joint venture between Maharashtra Airport Development Company and the AAI, cancelling an award granted to GMR Airports for upgradation and operation of the Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, terming it arbitrary and unfair.

The appeal against the Bombay High Court judgment was dismissed by the top court in 2022. Furthermore, the review plea against the verdict was also trashed by the Supreme Court leading to the filing of the curative plea by the Centre and the AAI claiming that they are the necessary parties to any dispute concerning the airport, its running and upgradation as the subject falls under the Union List of the seventh schedule of the Constitution.

The Bombay High Court judgement, in 2021, had paved the way for GMR Airports to upgrade and run the Nagpur airport. Quashing the aforesaid communication, the high court stated that they found that the impugned communication is arbitary, unfair, unreasonable and therefore it deserves to be quashed and set aside.

The Bombay High Court had also ordered MIHAN to execute a concession agreement with the GMR group. The order had come on the petition filed by GMR Airports challenging the action of MIHAN in annulling the bidding process for upgradation, modernisation, operation and management of the Nagpur international airport despite the process having come to an end and the petitioner (GMR) already having been awarded the project by way of a Letter of Award on March 7, 2019.

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