The Bombay High Court has issued a contempt notice to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and its chairman for allegedly misleading the court in obtaining a favourable order on 32 acres near the airport.
"We find AAI has interfered with the course of justice by suppressing relevant material," observed the division bench of Justice D. K. Deshmukh and Justice R. P. Sondurbaldota while issuing the notice last week for criminal contempt.
Relying on an affidavit filed on behalf of AAI, the high court had in August 2007 dismissed a petition by Anwar Hajee Cassum Aagboatwala whose land had been acquired for setting up a remote receiving station near the airport.
Aagboatwala had sought orders to release his land saying that AAI had decided not to use the 64-acre plot for the facility for which it had been acquired. AAI denied this.
P. Mukhopadhyay, officer of special duty with AAI, created an impression that the acquired land wasn’t enough for setting up the facility. Under the Right to Information act, Aagboatwala found that the AAI had decided to use 32 acres for the rehabilitation of slums, a fortnight before his petition was dismissed. Besides, AAI had decided to ascertain the market value of the 32-acre plot. Aagboatwala moved the HC again in March. AAI replied stating the 32-acre plot did not include Aagboatwala’s land. The court has given AAI and its chairman two weeks to explain why proceedings for criminal contempt of court should not be initiated against them.