In a much-anticipated move, the Kerala Government has approached the Kerala High Court pleading a stay on the Centre’s move to privatize the Thiruvananthapuram Airport. The development comes a day after a virtual All-India Party Meeting convened by the Kerala CM unanimously demanded a withdrawal of the Union Government’s decision to lease the Airport to Adani Enterprises. The matter was adjudicated by the HC a year before when it dismissed the petition holding that it was not maintainable under Article 226 of the Constitution. On a subsequent appeal at the Supreme Court, the HC verdict was set aside, and the case was remanded back for a decision on merit. The state government submitted that if the license is not granted, it will be put to irreparable injury and hardship.
The Union Government on Wednesday approved the proposal for leasing out three airports-Jaipur, Guwahati, and Thiruvananthapuram on a PPP model. The controversy witnessed a strong response from the Union Minister of Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri, who claimed that the bidding process was initiated at the request of the Kerala Government. In a series of tweets on Thursday, the Minister maintained that the decision is subject to the outcome of the writ petition. As per the response, if the petitioners succeed in their case against the Centre, the PPP will be suspended, and the Airport will be handed back to the AAI.
The Centre’s decision to lease out the operation, management, and development of the Airport to Adani Enterprises for 50 years has faced stiff opposition and discontent from the very beginning.
The State Government’s legal battle assumes more significance in the background of the Supreme Court’s backing of the government’s cause.