Domestic airlines take AirAsia, government to court

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sent notices to the central government and AirAsia BHD on a petition filed by the Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) against the go-ahead given to the Malaysia-based airline to start operations in India, and has sought responses from both.

A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice S Mridul also issued notice to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) on the FIA's petition. 

The court renotified the matter for 12 March to be heard with BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's plea challenging clearances granted to the airline and also asked the government, AirAsia and other respondents to file their reply to an additional affidavit filed by Swamy.

AirAsia had floated a joint venture with Tata Sons and Telestra Tradeplace called AirAsia India for the airline's India operations.

Swamy in his petition has alleged that either the responses filed by the authorities before the court are ''false and misleading'' or the Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) ''has acted illegally and in utter disregard of law''.

Swamy, meanwhile, is planning to file a contempt plea against the central government on the alleged ''false representations''.

Deposing before the bench, Swamy alleged that AirAsia obtained the licence by making false representations to this court. He also pointed out that the joint venture, which had to be essentially majority controlled by Indians, is not controlled by Tata Sons and Telestra Trade Place.

FIA moved the high court pleading that AirAsia be ''restrained from commencing business as an airline operator in India,'' after the DGCA on 21 February granted permission to AirAsia to commence its scheduled operations.