Free Press Journal

Tata-AirAsia deal: HC allows plea to make DGCA party to PIL



New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today allowed a plea to implead DGCA as a party to a PIL seeking quashing of approvals being granted by the Centre to operationalise the USD 30 million deal between Tata Sons and Malaysia-based AirAsia.

A bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog fixed the PIL of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and the plea of Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) against the Tata-AirAsia deal for final hearing on May 1.

“The government has lied to the court and they should not be permitted to go ahead with the deal,” Swamy said.

“Nothing is going to happen till May 1,” the bench said, adding that it will also take up the contempt plea of Swamy for hearing on that day itself.

Swamy, in one of his fresh pleas, has sought initiation of contempt proceedings against an official of finance ministry for allegedly making false statement in a reply filed on behalf of the Centre on October 25, last year.

He claimed that the official had stated that issues of “substantial ownership” and “effective control” of the airline prior to grant of approval for FDI, was to be decided by DGCA.

However, DGCA in its February 21 public notice had said that FIPB is the competent authority to decide the same and it had examined these issues and taken a decision in April 2013.

Swamy said based on the false statement of the official, the high court refused to grant him any interim relief.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for FIA, also said the Federation has filed another case against the approvals granted to Tata-SIA Airlines Ltd, a joint venture between Tata and Singapore-based SIA Airlines.

“The petition may come up before this bench tomorrow. The petition can also be tagged with these two petitions for hearing,” Rohatgi said. The bench allowed the plea.

Swamy and the FIA are opposing clearance to the deal on the ground that according to government policy, foreign direct investment (FDI) up to 49 per cent is allowed in existing airlines which are already in operation and not to new or proposed joint ventures.