The Supreme Court today, October 17, dismissed petitions by the Kerala government and others challenging the judgment of the Kerala High Court permitting Adani Enterprises to operate, manage and develop the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
Trivandrum International Airport
A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi also rejected the plea filed by the Airport Authority staff Union (AAEU) and AAEU’s president KP Suresh.
The Court stated that given the fact the private entity has been managing the operations of the airport since October 2021, there is no reason to interfere at this stage.
“Because the private entity has been in operation since October 2021, we see no reason to entertain the special leave petition. Thus, appeal dismissed,” the Court ordered.
Airports Authority of India
The plea filed by the State challenged the action of the Airports Authority of India to prefer the Adani group over the state government for the management of the Thiruvananthapuram Airport.
The plea stated that the decision was not in the public interest and that the entire proceedings including the tender process were vitiated by malafides and also in violation of the provisions of the Airports Authority of India Act, 1994.
It was contended that the grant of concession to Adani Group violated an earlier undertaking by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation rejecting the proposal of the State government to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to take over and run the Airport on a revenue-sharing basis.
It was contended that granting concession to Adani Group, who has “no previous experience in managing airports”, was violative of the provisions of the Airports Authority of India Act, 1994 as well as the proprietary rights of the State government regarding the land on which the Thiruvananthapuram Airport is situated.
The Kerala High Court had, in October 2020, rejected the challenge to the Central government’s decision to lease out the Thiruvananthapuram Airport to Adani Enterprises. This led to the present appeal before the top court.