Kerala HC dismisses state government's plea challenging lease of Thiruvananthapuram airport

The state government had approached the court after an all-party-meeting in Kerala demanded withdrawal of the Union Cabinet's decision

Press Trust of India October 19, 2020 15:40:42 IST
Kerala HC dismisses state government's plea challenging lease of Thiruvananthapuram airport

File image of Kerala High Court. Wikimedia Commons.

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday dismissed petitions filed by Kerala government and others challenging the Centre's decision to lease Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises.

A division bench of the high court comprising Justices K Vinod Chandran and CS Dias delivered the verdict, dismissing arguments raised by the state government and others opposing the Centre's decision to lease out the airport to Adani Enterprises Limited.

The Kerala government, on 21 August, had moved the high court seeking a stay on further proceedings in leasing Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises.

The state government had filed the application in the court, after an all-party-meeting in Kerala demanded withdrawal of the Union Cabinet's decision to lease the airport to Adani Enterprises.

Last year, the high court had dismissed the petition challenging the decision, terming it as not maintainable under Article 226 of the Constitution.

The state government then filed an appeal before the Supreme Court challenging the high court order.

The apex court set aside the judgement of the high court and the matter was remanded back to it for a decision on merit.

Referring to the top court directive, the state government had said, "all further proceedings in relation to grant of lease with regard to operation, management and development of Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises Ltd, is to be stayed pending disposal of the aforementioned writ petition."

The Adani Enterprises had won the rights to run six airports — Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati — through the PPP model after a competitive bidding process in February, 2019.

Vijayan had told the all-party meet that the state government had asked for the management and the operation of the airport with the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in which it will be the major shareholder.

The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) had taken part in the bidding.

The Centre had said the state government did not qualify in the bidding process that was carried out in a "transparent manner".

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