Delhi HC stays collection by DIAL

Delhi HC stays collection by DIAL

New Delhi: Passengers using the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport in the Capital have been spared for now from paying towards upgrading the facility.

The Delhi high court on Wednesday stayed the collection of airport development fee by Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) till the airports regulator issued a specific order allowing the levy.

The Supreme Court had on 26 April quashed the charging of the fee by the Delhi and Mumbai airports unless the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority, or Aera, passed orders allowing its collection.

But the court noted that the regulator had issued a public notice on the collection of the fee at the Delhi airport. There was no such notice on collections at the Mumbai airport.

There was some confusion over whether a public notice could be acknowledged as an order, said a government official who declined to be named. DIAL, therefore, continued levying the fee.

A “public notice is not a final determination of the fee on passengers", said Anurag Sharma, an advocate for the Delhi-based Consumer Online Foundation. The body has challenged Aera’s public notice dated 23 April 2010 “because the SC (Supreme Court) had given us the liberty in its order to appeal".

Airport development fee, or ADF, is levied to bridge shortfalls in funding on the total cost of upgrading an airport.

Aera asked DIAL to comply with the Supreme Court order partly to understand the court’s interpretation, said the official quoted earlier. DIAL hasn’t replied to the letter yet, he said. In a statement on Wednesday, DIAL said airlines do not have to collect the fee from passengers for now.

“The appeal has been directed to be disposed of within 45 days. The high court has also clarified that its order shall not come in the way of Aera in carrying out final determination of ADF," DIAL said. “In view of the above said orders of the Delhi high court, all airlines have been advised not to collect ADF of 200 per departing domestic passenger and 1,300 per departing international passenger at the IGI Airport, New Delhi, until further communication."

DIAL is promoted by GMR Group, Airports Authority of India, Fraport AG and Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.

An executive at GMR said the firm is tired of public interest litigations. “How do you run a business if you are not even allowed to follow the agreed OMDA," he said referring to the operations management development agreement signed between DIAL and the government.