The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday ordered issue of notice to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on a PIL petition questioning the process of handing over of Mangaluru International Airport to Adani Enterprises Ltd. for operations, management and development.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the order on the petition filed by Airport Authority Employees’ Union, Mangaluru International Airport.
The petitioner has sought a declaration from the HC that the entire bidding process pursuant to the Cabinet decision of November 8, 2018, and the action of calling for Request for Proposal (RFP) to enter into a concession agreement as illegal. The petitioner has also sought a direction from the court to quash the July 3, 2019, decision of the MCA approving the bid of the Adani Enterprises Ltd. and the concession agreement entered into with Adani Group on February 14, 2020.
The petitioner has contended that accepting the bid of Adani Group was illegal and beyond the scope of the Airport Authority Act, 1994.
After the Cabinet node, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) prepared and submitted to the Public-Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) on December 7, 2018, without conducting proper feasibility study and without considering the legality of such a proposal, the petitioner has alleged.
“The PPPAC in turn gave in-principle approval simultaneously on December 11, 2018, by evaluating the bulk documents within four days of time, which included one Saturday and Sunday… Prima facie there was no proper examination of the proposal. After obtaining the approval, the AAI within no time finalised and uploaded the RFP and the draft concession agreement on December 14, 2018,” the petitioner contended.
Pointing out that the entity quoting the highest ‘per passenger fee’ for domestic passengers will emerge as the highest bidder, the petitioner has contended that this term is contrary to international standards and the normal bidding process as there was no base price fixed.