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Airport privatisation: SC dismisses PIL

The Supreme Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the Government's decision to privatise airports.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 13:12 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the Government's decision to privatise airports.

Court dismissed the appeal against a Delhi High Court verdict dismissing its petition challenging Government's decision to allow 74 per cent private equity in joint ventures for modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice YK Sabharwal and Justice CK Thakker was not satisfied with the appeal by the International Airports Authority of India Officers' Association as some provisions of the Airports Authority of India Act, 1994, were in conflict with each other.

The Bench observed that the provisions of the Act had to be construed harmoniously and that it was a policy matter to be decided by the Government.

Senior counsel RK Jain submitted on behalf of the Association that the joint ventures contemplated applied only to new airports and not the existing ones, an argument not accepted by the Court.

In an SLP filed in the apex Court, the Association had said the High Court erred in holding that the Government could allow 74 per cent private equity in joint ventures under certain provisions of the Act through an executive order.

As an interim relief, IAAI Officers' Association had sought a direction to Civil Aviation Ministry and Airports Authority of India restraining them from going ahead with the formation of Joint Venture Companies for operation, development and management of International Airports at Delhi and Mumbai.

Terming it as a case of excessive delegation, the appellant had said the Government could not have done it without approval of Parliament.

The High Court had in September 2005 dismissed the Association's petition which had also challenged the validity mandatory functions of the Authority.

First Published: Feb 20, 2006 12:48 IST