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Supreme Court admits Reliance petition

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 5: The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the Union government and the two companies, M/S GMR Infrastructure Ltd and M/S GVK, in connection with awarding the modernisation contract of Delhi and Mumbai airports.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Y K Sabharwal and Mr Justice CK Thakker posted the case for hearing on June 1. The case will be heard by a special bench during vacations on a petiton filed by M/S Reliance Airport Developers Pvt Ltd challenging the Delhi High Court's order dismissing their petition challenging the award of contract for modernising Delhi and Mumbai airports to M/S GMR infrastructure Ltd and M/S GVK.

Reliance Airport Developers has challenged the Center's decision to award contract to the said companies on the ground it was the highest bidder for Delhi Airport and was best suited in terms of technology for Mumbai airport.

The petitioner has also challenged the Center's decision of appointing Group of Eminent Technical Experts (GETE) headed by Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan saying it was illegal.

It also challanged the decision of the government bringing down the bench-mark from 80 per cent to 50 per cent as it was an attempt to exclude the petitioners from becoming qualified for either of the two airports. The process of awarding contract was also lacking transparency, the petitioner added.

The High Court had dismissed the writ petition of M/S Reliance on the grounds that there was no illegality or arbitrariness in the action upon by the government. The High Court had also held that it was the prerogative of the government to fix bench- mark for technological expertise and there was nothing wrong in government lowering the bench-march from 80 per cent to 50 per cent.

The petitioner is seeking cancellation of contracts awarded for privatisation and development of the two airports having maximum international traffic. The project is worth about Rs 4,000 crores.


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