The Supreme Court on Tuesday has sought a detailed affidavit from the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), the Centre and the Airports Authority of India on airport development fees (ADF).
The apex court's direction came in response to a petition filed by NGO Consumer Online Foundation, challenging ADF levy on passengers. A bench of Justice DK Jain and Justice Madan B Lokur directed the respondents to file an affidavit within 10 days, explaining which agency imposed the charge and how the money collected was utilised.
During the last hearing on July 20, the bench had termed ADF as "little unreasonable". It suggested levying user charges on VIPs for availing the facility of special lounges instead of burdening common travellers. DIAL charges R200 per departing domestic passenger and R1,300 from international passengers as ADF.
The court's direction came after DIAL told the court that it never collected the money and that the money was being kept in an escrow account.
The NGO, through senior counsel Rajeev Dhawan, has appealed against the order of the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) Appellate Tribunal which had refused its plea against the levy and collection of ADF by DIAL.
The petitioner had moved the authority after SC had in April last quashed ADF levied on international and domestic passengers at Delhi and Mumbai airports. A bench then headed by Justice RV Raveendran (since retired) had held that both DIAL and MIAL could not have charged ADF from passengers under the Airports Authority of India Act, 1994 as it was without the regulator's permission.
DIAL, however, continued to charge ADF under the public notice issued by AERA on April 23, 2010.
SC had then refused to examine the validity of this notice as the same was not challenged by the petitioner.