February 20, 2020

Kerala Moves SC After Adani Bags Trivandrum Airport Deal

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The Kerala government has moved the Supreme Court to challenge the Airport Authority of India’s (AAI) decision of leasing the Trivandrum Airport to Adani Enterprises for 50 years.

The bidding took place in February 2019, when the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and Adani Enterprises were pitted against each other. The deal was won by Adani Enterprises after it quoted the highest price.

Kerala urged the AAI to give KSIDC a month’s time to raise funds equivalent to Adani’s quotation. The Kerala state government also pointed out that the state government deserved preferential consideration since it had the experience of running airports.

According to the Pinarayi Vijayan government, before involving a private player in the bid, the central government has to ask the state government, under a 2003 assurance.

Kerala contended that the AAI granted the right to operate, manage, and develop Trivandrum International Airport to a private party having no experience in managing airports. The Kerala state government has also stated that the deal is against public interest.

The Kerala state government petition stated that the AAI’s decision is against proprietary rights since the land belongs to the state. The land was allotted to the AAI by the Kerala state government and the erstwhile Travancore state, from time to time free of cost.

Earlier, the Kerala government had approached the Kerala High Court which dismissed the plea adding that it is a dispute between the central government and the state government, which can only be decided by Supreme Court under Article 131 of the Constitution.

The Kerala government has disputed this reasoning of the Kerala High Court on the ground that Article 131 does not apply to this case due to the involvement of a private party like Adani.

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