NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to implead other airlines as party in his plea that had sought the quashing of an alliance between Jet Airways and the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.
The plea also challenged the bilateral agreement between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on increasing the number of flights between the two countries.
A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit asked Swamy to implead other airlines as parties to the list as they may be affected by the court’s decision on the Jet-Etihad deal. Swamy said he would make the Federation of Indian Airlines, Air India, IndiGo and Spicejet parties in the case.
Additional Solicitor-General P S Narsimha, appearing for the Centre, defended the deal, saying the agreement between two sovereign nations was an international treaty and could not be challenged in this manner.
“How can this agreement become a treaty?” the bench asked, adding that the Centre had not filed the entire records.
Swamy told the bench, “The Parliamentary sub-committee and the CAG have opposed the agreement and this was done by the previous United Progressive Alliance government to help Etisalat which lost lot of money due to the cancellation of 2G spectrum licences.”
The seat-sharing agreements between India and United Arab Emirates adversely impacted Indian interests, he added.
Swamy had questioned the Centre’s decision to execute the agreement in favour of Abu Dhabi under the existing Air Service Agreement between the two governments.
The apex court has now fixed the plea for a further hearing on July 19.
Swamy is seeking to quash the deal on the ground that it was against public interest as there had been squandering of natural resource i.e. the sky and air space.
In 2014, the court had sought Centre’s response on Swamy’s interim pleas seeking the Cabinet note concerning the Jet-Etihad Airways deal .
Parl Panel Moots Dept on Intl Law
New Delhi: A Parliamentary Committee on Tuesday recommended setting up of a new Department of International Law to work as a nodal agency to create a pool of legal experts to negotiate and draft international treaties, saying India too needed a matching expertise at international fora. The Committee also recommended a new Department of International Obligations and Implementations under the direct supervision of Prime Minister to monitor the implementation of India’s international obligations and commitments. In its report the Committee said the Ministry of Law and Justice should be rechristened ‘Ministry of International Law, Domestic Law and Justice’.