Friday, December 8, 2023

SC dismisses Kerala govt’s plea against handover of Thiruvananthapuram Airport to Adani

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The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a plea by the Kerala government challenging the handover of the management of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL).

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi dismissed the special leave petitions filed by the Kerala Government and certain unions of the employees of the airport against the judgment of the Kerala High Court which upheld the lease of the Airport to AEL in October 2020, Live Law reported.

In February last year, the Kerala government moved the apex court against the Airport Authority of India’s decision to allow the Adani Group to operate, manage and develop the airport for a period of 50 years.

The Kerala government claimed many clauses in the Request for Proposal (RFP) were tailor-made to suit private players but the court rejected that contention. The Union said the tender was carried out in a transparent manner, and special advantage was given to KSIDC (Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation) at the state’s request.

Thiruvananthapuram International Airport was handed over to the Adani Group in October last year; the company won a bidding process held in 2019 by quoting ₹168 as the per-passenger fee payable to AII.

Senior Advocate CU Singh appearing for Kerala government submitted that the land in which the airport is situated belonged to the State Government. Also, the State has expended money to acquire additional land for the airport. Therefore, the State ought to have preferential rights, Live Law reports.

He highlighted that the state entities have experience in managing the Cochin International Airport and the Kannur International Airport.

“Yes we had commissioned Kannur and Cochin airports. Cochin is world class airport now”, Singh submitted.

Earlier, Kerala Assembly unanimously passed a resolution urging the Union government to rescind its decision.

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