Thiruvananthapuram airport handover: SC directs Kerala HC to hear state govt’s petition
New Delhi: The Supreme Court directed the Kerala High Court to consider the petition by the state government against handing over the rights of operation of the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.
The apex court cancelled the HC’s interim order which stated that the petition filed by the Kerala government was not legally valid. The SC also dismissed the HC’s finding that steps for handing over the airport were not initiated.
The Kerala High Court had issued a verdict that the writ petition filed by the state government against the decision to hand over operation rights of the Thiruvananthapuram airport to Adani group was not legally valid.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had decided to grant the rights of operation, management and development of Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to the Adani group for 50 years.
The HC observed that the Kerala government had to file a suit petition according to article 131 of the constitution. The HC had also clarified that the central government had not initiated steps to hand over the airport and hence the government’s petition was untimely.
However, an SC bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde clarified that the Kerala government’s petition was valid. The bench also pointed out that the central government had initiated procedures to hand over the airport. In this situation, the HC should hear the state government’s petition on merit, the SC said.
Appearing for the central government, additional solicitor general K. M. Natarajan pointed out that the tender procedures to hand over the airport have not been initiated. In response, senior advocate C. U. Singh and C. K. Sasi appearing for the state government argued that their petition be heard before the tender procedures are initiated.
Advocates appearing for the Kerala government also argued that it had invested over Rs 140 crore in the airport and that the airport was built on government land.