The Kerala government on Friday moved the high court seeking a stay on further proceedings in leasing out Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises. Unless the stay is granted, it will be put to irreparable injury and hardship, the state government said in its application already filed by it challenging the central government's move to privatise the airport.
The state government filed the application in the court,a day after an all-party-meeting in Kerala demanded withdrawal of the Union Cabinet's Wednesday decision to lease out the airport to Adani Enterprises. Last year, the high court had dismissed the petition challenging the decision, terming it as not maintainable under Article 226 of the Constitution.
The state government then filed an appeal before the Supreme Court challenging the high court order. The apex court set aside the judgement of the high court and the matter was remanded back to it for a decision on merit.
Referring to the top court directive, the state government said, "all further proceedings in relation to grant of lease with regard to operation, management and development of Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises Ltd, is to be stayed pending disposal of the aforementioned writ petition." In the virtual meeting, called by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss the issue, barring the BJP all other parties opposed the Union cabinet's decision to lease out airports at Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram through public-private partnership (PPP) mode. It has also decided to move a resolution in this regard in the state assembly when it meets for a day on August 24.
Vijayan later shot off his second letter in two days to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, conveying the decision taken at the all-party meeting and requested him to reconsider the privatisation move. The Adani Enterprises has 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.
Vijayan told the all-party meet that the state government had asked for the management and the operation of the airport with the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) in which it will be the major shareholder. The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation(KSIDC) had taken part in the bidding.
The Centre has said the state government did not qualify in the bidding process that was carried out in a "transparent manner".