Monday, August 8, 2022

SC sends back to HC Kerala govt’s plea challenging handing over of Thiruvananthapuram airport to Adani

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The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Kerala High Court to decide on the plea of the Kerala Government against the decision of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) handing over operations and management of Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to Adani Enterprises Ltd.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde heard the plea on behalf of Kerala government, and then proceeded to send the plea for review to the high court.

The bench, comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, also said the disagreement in context of Article 131 (which relates to the dispute between Centre and states) would remain open for further hearing if needed.

On December 18 2019, the Kerala high court had dismissed its  its plea against the AAI decision granting rights to Adani group for operating and developing Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. The high court stated the plea was “not maintainable” and said that the question raised in the petition has to be decided by the Supreme Court under Article 131 of the Constitution of India.

Kerala government had approached the high court challenging the alleged “arbitrary and illegal action” of Airports Authority of India (AAI) in “attempting to prefer a particular private concessionaire”, Adani Enterprises Ltd, for operation, management and development of Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

The state alleged  that the Airports Authority of India’s decision to grant right of operation, management and development of Thiruvananthapuram airport is a violation of the provisions of the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994. The state also mentioned in their plea that Adani Enterprises Ltd., a private party, has no previous experience in managing airports.

The Adani group had won the bid to operate, manage and develop five out of six airports, including in Thiruvananthapuram, proposed for privatisation by the Centre for the next 50 years.

The airport, located on 258.06 acres of land owned by the princely state of Travancore, was established in the year 1932.

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