The Bombay High Court on Friday issued notices to the Maharashtra government and MIHAN India Ltd on a petition filed by GMR Airports Ltd challenging the cancellation of their award for upgradation and operation of the city-based Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport.
In its petition, GMR Airports Ltd challenged the "unjust, arbitrary and illegal action" of MIHAN India Ltd in annulling the bidding process for upgradation, modernisation, operation and management of the international airport at Nagpur despite the process having come to an end and the petitioner (GMR) already having been awarded the project by way of a letter of award on March 7, 2019.
As per the plea, Multi-modal International Cargo Hub and Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN), a joint venture company between Maharashtra Airport Development Company and Airports Authority of India (AAI), is now planning on issuing fresh tenders for the project.
The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court, comprising Justices S B Shukre and A S Kilor, on Friday issued notices to MIHAN and the government and posted the matter for further hearing on June 12.
"If any fresh tenders are invited, the same shall be subject to the result of this petition," the court said.
The petition filed through advocates J T Gilda and Charuhas B Dharmadhikari argued that once the bidding process has culminated and a selected bidder has been appointed and letter of award was issued and accepted, an annulment of such a bidding process would result in cancellation of the letter of award, thus affecting the rights of the petitioner.
The petition added that the annulment letter dated March 19, 2020 has been issued without even informing the petitioner of the reasons behind doing so.
"The impugned letter is grossly illegal and unjust and deserves to be quashed," the plea said.
"The annulment of the bidding process defeats the Government of India's objective of socio-economic development of the Vidarbha region," it added.
The petition has sought the court to quash the March 19, 2020 letter issued by MIHAN annulling the bidding process and to direct the MIHAN to comply with the letter of award issued in favour of GMR Airports Ltd.
The petition had by way of interim relief sought the court to direct MIHAN and the state government to not carry out any fresh tender process for the project.