Refusing to entertain former MP Subramanian Swamy’s PIL, the Supreme Court on Friday asked him to approach the Delhi High Court against the government’s clearance given to proposed low-cost airline AirAsia India.
AirAsia India is a new regional airline company in which Malaysia’s largest budget carrier AirAsia has a 49% stake, Tata Sons has 30%, and Arun Bhatia’s Telestra Tradeplace has the rest. A bench headed by Justice BS Chauhan without making any observation on merits of the matter asked Swamy to move the HC, saying “we want to have advantage of the high court judgement.”
Terming the clearance as illegal and arbitrary and seeking quashing of such clearance granted to AirAsia India, Swamy told the court that he was not challenging the policy but questioning the action that has been taken by the government under the policy.
Swamy argued that several issues related to foreign control and policy had been overlooked in granting of the clearance, which is also in violation of a September policy that allowed foreign airlines to invest in Indian airlines.
Swamy said in any investment in an Indian airline by a foreign carrier, control has to remain with Indian nationals as per Indian law. In AirAsia’s case, however, the Indian owners Tata and Telestra are bound by clauses in their agreements that would leave control with Malaysia’s AirAsia, he said.