Kerala Moves SC Against Centre's Decision to Lease Thiruvananthapuram Airport to Adani

The Kerala government has stepped ahead  the Supreme Court against the Centre's decision to lease Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government has filed the appeal challenging the Kerala High Court which dismissed the petition on October 19 on the basis that it was directed against the privatization policy of the Centre and hence devoid of merits. Seeking an interim stay of the high court's verdict, the plea filed through lawyer C K Sasi said that it has challenged the "arbitrary and illegal action" of the Airports Authority of India in attempting to prefer a particular private concessionaire, Adani Enterprises Ltd, for the operation, management and development of Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

The Kerala government had filed the application in the high court after conducting an all-party-meeting, where demands were raised for the withdrawal of the Union Cabinet's decision to lease the airport to Adani Enterprises. The Centre had said that the state government did not qualify in the bidding process that was carried out in a "transparent manner." Adani Enterprises had won the rights to run six airports -- Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati -- through the PPP model after a competitive bidding process in February 2019.

The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) had taken part in the bidding. "The contention of Kerala...is that the attempt on the part of the Airport Authority to grant right of Operation, Management and Development of Thiruvananthapuram Airport, to a private party...who has no previous experience in managing airports, is not in the public interest and is violative of the provisions of the Airport Authority of India Act, 1994.," the plea said.

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