SC Rejects Kerala’s Plea Against Lease of Thiruvananthapuram Airport to Adani Enterprises
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by the Kerala government challenging the decision of the Airports Authority of India to lease the management of Thiruvananthapuram International Airport to Adani Enterprises Limited, reported Live Act.
A bench of Indian Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi was hearing the plea filed against the Kerala High Court judgment upholding the airport lease to the Gautam Adani conglomerate.
The Airports Authority of India had granted a lease to Adani Enterprises Limited in October 2020 and the conglomerate took over the airport a year later.
At Monday’s hearing, the judges noted that the High Court had taken into consideration discussions between the state and the central government that any state-owned entity holding at least 25% of the shares of the airport will have the right of first refusal within the range of 10%.
The right of first refusal is a contractual right granted to a person or entity to enter into a commercial transaction before others.
Under the arrangement, state-owned Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation had participated in the bid, the Supreme Court noted. However, the company placed a bid of Rs 168 per passenger while Adani Enterprises Limited’s bid was Rs 135 per passenger.
Since the public body’s offer was 20% lower than Adani’s offer, it was rejected. The Supreme Court held that the High Court had rightly dismissed the Kerala government’s appeal.
The Supreme Court also said that since the company run by Adani has been managing airport operations since October 2021, there was no reason to intervene, reported Bar and Bench.
However, the court clarified that the question regarding the ownership of the land on which the airport is located would remain open.
In its petition, the Kerala government had argued that the transfer of the airport to Adani, who had “no previous experience in managing airports”, was in violation of the provisions of the 1994 Airports Authority of India as well as property rights. of State.