A division bench of the Madras High Court dismissed two public interest litigation (PIL) petitions seeking quashing of contract given by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to Bhadra International (India) Limited of New Delhi, a joint venture consortium partner along with Novia International Consulting APS of Denmark, for providing ground handling services at the airports at Chennai and Kolkatta.
The bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan upheld the contract, while dismissing the PILs from Oveyam Ranjan of West Shenoy Nagar and Indian Airports Ground Handling Agents Association, on March 11. The petitions sought to quash the order dated September 9, 2009 of the AAI awarding the contract to Bhadra International. Petitioners contended that the eligibility conditions of the tender were tailor-made to suit Bhadra.
Rejecting the contention, the bench noted that the Federation of Indian Airlines and others comprising airline carriers had filed a similar petition before the High Court in New Delhi. Having found the weakness in the case before the Delhi High Court, the interested persons had prompted the petitioners to file the present PILs at the 11th hour stating that no other PIL had been filed in any other High Court on the same issue. The Delhi High Court had dismissed that petition.
It was clear that the PILs were filed at the behest of some interested persons. The bona fides of the petitioners were at stake. With material available on record, the bench said it had no doubt or hesitation to hold that the petitioners had resorted to this prompted and personal interest litigations at the behest of persons trying to create obstacles for the successful bidder to commence its operations.