Bengaluru: An notice has been issued by the Karnataka High Court to the Centre on a PIL that questioned the privatisation of Mangaluru International Airport.
The High Court sought the quashing of the Cabinet decision in 2019 approving the bid of Adani Enterprises Limited for three airports including Mangaluru.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued a notice to the Centre issued the notice while hearing the petition filed by Airports Authority Employees Union, Bajpe, Mangaluru.
On November 8, 2018, the Union Cabinet gave in-principle approval for leasing out six airports namely Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram, and Mangaluru under a public-private partnership.
The petitioners requested the court to declare the bidding process for the privatisation on the basis of that Cabinet decision as illegal, arbitrary and beyond the scope of the Airports Authority Act.
The petitioners also sought the quashing of the Cabinet decision dated July 3, 2019, approving Adani Enterprises’ bid for three airports including Mangaluru, contending that the Centre had no authority to enter into such an agreement as it is beyond the powers conferred under Section 12 and 12-A of the Airports Authority Act and a violation of the Aircrafts Rules.
They also sought the quashing of the consequential concession agreement entered into by AAI and Adani Enterprises in February 2020, alleging that it was prepared without conducting a proper feasibility study and without considering the legality of the proposal, the petitioners said, and alleged that Adani Enterprises was the highest bidder for all six airports of the 11 who participated in the process.
There is between 295% to 638% deviation between the highest and lowest bidder, meaning that the bid document circulated by the AAI lacked clarity and that bidders were not able to analyse and evaluate the project, the petitioners alleged.