Monday, 18 March 2013

Post court verdict, ground handler Bhadra getting more deals



The recent dismissal of a petition by the Madras High Court could pave the way for Bhadra International, a ground handling support Service Company at Chennai airport, in securing more contracts from various airlines.
Bhadra provides ground handling support service. However, due to the petition most of the airlines used the services of Air India instead of Bhadra. In Chennai, the company currently has contracts with six passenger airlines and 17 cargo airlines.
“The court’s decision will pave the way for airlines to sign a contract with us,” said a senior official of Bhadra on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
A petition filed by Oveyam Ranjan and Indian Airports Ground Handling Agents Association, Bangalore, sought to quash an AAI order of September 9, 2009, awarding the licence to Bhadra to provide ground handling services in Chennai and Kolkata airports.
They also sought to direct the CBI to hold an inquiry into the issuance of tender for providing comprehensive ground handling services to various domestic and international airlines in both airports and file a report within a timeframe.
Dismissing the petition, a Division Bench noted that the Federation of Indian Airlines and other airline carriers had filed a similar petition in Delhi High Court and the same was dismissed, says a PTI report. The petitioners in contended that eligibility conditions of the tender were altered to suit Bhadra International, a joint venture consortium partnering Novia International Consulting APS of Denmark. AAI, authorities of Chennai and Kolkata airports denied the allegations, says the report. The writ petition was filed in December 2012.
Bhadra bagged the contract through a tender under the ground-handling policy of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. , Bhadra, along with Air India and AAI, were allowed to do ground handling work and airlines were not allowed to appoint their own agency for the work.
The tender was awarded in favour of Bhadra, which has set up the necessary infrastructure at the Chennai airport and signed up with three or four airlines, a senior of a private airline said.
“All the allegations made against us were proved wrong with the High Court ruling, said the official of Bhadra. Due to the case, they were hesitating to sign the agreement,” he said. The official said that the since many of the airlines have a contract with AAI, they need to first terminate it, and sign a fresh contract with Bhadra. This may take some time, he said.
An official of a leading international cargo carrier, who did not want to be quoted in the story, said the airline’s contract with AAI was till March 31. “We will have to wait to hear from our headquarters whether they will renew or terminate the contract with AAI, and switch over to Bhadra,” he said.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

High Court Chennai “…petitions were nothing but vexatious litigations filed only to wrongfully restrain the successful bidder from commencing its operations.”



Chennai, Mar 12 (PTI) Madras High Court today allowed private sector firm Bhadra International to commence its operation in ground handling services in Chennai and Kolkata airports. Dismissing a PIL, a Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and Aruna Jagadeesan noted that the Federation of Indian Airlines and other airline carriers had filed a similar petition in Delhi High Court and the same was dismissed. A PIL filed by Oveyam Ranjan and Indian Airports Ground Handling Agents Association, Bangalore, sought to quash an Airports Authority of India (AAI) order of September 9, 2009, awarding license to provide ground handling services in Chennai and Kolkata airports. They also sought to direct the CBI to hold an inquiry into the issuance of tender for providing comprehensive ground handling services to various domestic and international airlines in both airports and file a report within a timeframe. The tender was awarded in favour of Bhadra International (India) Limited. The petitioners contended that eligibility conditions of the tender were altered to suit Bhadra International, a joint venture consortium partnering along with Novia International Consulting APS of Denmark. AAI, authorities of Chennai and Kolkata airports denied the allegations. Dismissing their petitions, the bench said the present petitioners have filed the petition as a PIL and stated that no similar petitions are filed in any other High Courts at the same time. The bench said that the writ petitions have been filed, since they "found the weakness in the case before the Delhi High Court, the interested persons have prompted a third party/ the petitioners to file the present writ petition as a PIL that too in the eleventh hour." These petitions were filed "undoubtedly with an ill intention of preventing Bhadra International to commence its operation," they said. (MORE) PTI DSJ RC MNS MVV

High Court Chennai “…writ petitions have been filed, undoubtedly with an ill intention of preventing Bhadra International to commence its operation.”



Madras High Court today allowed private sector firm Bhadra International to commence its operation in ground handling services in Chennai and Kolkata airports.

Dismissing a PIL, a Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and Aruna Jagadeesan noted that the Federation of Indian Airlines and other airline carriers had filed a similar petition in Delhi High Court and the same was dismissed.  A PIL filed by Oveyam Ranjan and Indian Airports Ground Handling Agents Association, Bangalore, sought to quash an Airports Authority of India (AAI) order of September 9, 2009, awarding license to provide ground handling services in Chennai and Kolkata airports.

They also sought to direct the CBI to hold an inquiry into the issuance of tender for providing comprehensive ground handling services to various domestic and international airlines in both airports and file a report within a timeframe.

The tender was awarded in favour of Bhadra International (India) Limited.

The petitioners contended that eligibility conditions of the tender were altered to suit Bhadra International, a joint venture consortium partnering along with Novia International Consulting APS of Denmark. AAI, authorities of Chennai and Kolkata airports denied the allegations. Dismissing their petitions, the bench said the present petitioners have filed the petition as a PIL and stated that no similar petitions are filed in any other High Courts at the same time.  The bench said that the writ petitions have been filed, since they "found the weakness in the case before the Delhi High Court, the interested persons have prompted a third party/ the petitioners to file the present writ petition as a PIL that too in the eleventh hour." These petitions were filed "undoubtedly with an ill intention of preventing Bhadra International to commence its operation," they said.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

HC allows Bhadra Intl to commence operation in Chennai, Kolkata



CHENNAI: Madras High Court today allowed private sector firm Bhadra International to commence its operation in ground handling services in Chennai and Kolkata airports.

Dismissing a PIL, a Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and Aruna Jagadeesan noted that the Federation of Indian Airlines and other airline carriers had filed a similar petition in Delhi High Court and the same was dismissed.

A PIL filed by Oveyam Ranjan and Indian
Airports Ground Handling Agents Association, Bangalore, sought to quash an Airports Authority of India (AAI) order of September 9, 2009, awarding license to provide ground handling services in Chennai and Kolkata airports.

They also sought to direct the CBI to hold an inquiry into the issuance of tender for providing comprehensive
ground handling services to various domestic and international airlines in both airports and file a report within a timeframe.

The tender was awarded in favour of
Bhadra International (India) Limited.

The petitioners contended that eligibility conditions of the tender were altered to suit
Bhadra International, a joint venture consortium partnering along with Novia International Consulting APS of Denmark. AAI, authorities of Chennai and Kolkata airports denied the allegations.

Dismissing their petitions, the bench said the present petitioners have filed the petition as a PIL and stated that no similar petitions are filed in any other High Courts at the same time.

The bench said that the writ petitions have been filed, since they "found the weakness in the case before the Delhi High Court, the interested persons have prompted a third party/ the petitioners to file the present writ petition as a PIL that too in the eleventh hour."

These petitions were filed "undoubtedly with an ill intention of preventing
Bhadra International to commence its operation," they said.

The petitioner, who posed as the president of a labour union, has not raised any issue with regard to any labour problem so far and this writ petition has been filed by her only at the behest of some interested persons, the bench said.

"The bona fides of the petitioners were at stake and given the materials available on record, we have no doubt or hesitation to hold that the petitioners have resorted to this prompted and personal interest litigation at the behest of the persons who approached the Delhi High Court and trying to create obstacles for the successful bidder to commence its operation," it said.

"This, in our view, is nothing but a proxy litigation indulging in by the petitioners. The CBI has conducted an inquiry into the whole episode earlier and filed its report giving clean chit to the issue in hand," it said.

Refusing the accept the contentions of the petitions that only with an ulterior motive, Chennai and Kolkata airports were clubbed together by officials, the bench said, "since the said decision is not only the policy decision of the government, but the same has not caused any financial loss to the AAI or the government of India."

"In a commercial contract matter like the one in hand, if a free hand is not given to the government, it would result in the cost to the exchequer," the bench said.

Licence given to JV for ground-handling services upheld



The Madras High Court on Tuesday upheld the licence awarded to a joint venture for providing comprehensive ground handling services to various airlines operating at the Chennai and Kolkata airports in September 2009.

Dismissing two petitions, including a public interest litigation petition, a Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and Aruna Jagadeesan said a thorough scrutiny of the entire material would not exhibit any unreasonableness on the part of the authorities.
There was no material to show that the tender conditions were tailor-made to suit the successful bidder as had been falsely alleged by petitioners.

As held by the Supreme Court, the scope of interference by court in contractual matters was very limited. Further, the AAI had fully justified its policy decision. No bias or malafide by any authority or person connected to the entire episode of award of the contract to the company had been established by petitioners.
In view of Supreme Court judgments coupled with the CBI’s report that no substantial wrongful loss had been caused to the AAI or the Centre, the Bench held that both the petitions were nothing but vexatious litigations filed only to wrongfully restrain the successful bidder from commencing its operations.
While Oveyam Ranjan, president, Namadhu Dravida Iyakkam, and S.C.C. Anthony Pillai Labour Union here filed a PIL, the Indian Airports Ground Handling Agents Association, Bangalore, filed the other petition. The common allegations, among others, were eligibility conditions of the tender of July 20, 2009 were tailor-made to suit Bhadra International (India) Ltd. and Novia International Consulting APS, a joint venture, the successful bidder.

The Bench said from the material placed on record, it could see that previously, there was no outside agency licensed by AAI to do ground handling work at airports in the country.
However, it was noticed that airline companies, which were supposed to do ground handling themselves, were really outsourcing the work to third parties without AAI’s consent or permission. Hence, the AAI took a decision to streamline the process of ground handling.

Messrs. Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and Aruna Jagadeesan said the object of the petitioner who had filed the PIL appeared to be to stall the taking over of the airport ground handling work by the successful bidder at the last minute. This conclusion was because the contract for the work was awarded by a letter dated September 9, 2009, pursuant to a public tender and security clearances were granted by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security in April and May 2010, but the petitioner waited till December 2010 end to file the writ petition, since he knew that the successful bidder was to commence the activities by January 1, 2011.
When the aggrieved parties, if any, themselves kept mum, the Bench said it wondered as to why Mr. Ranjan, completely a third party to the entire issue, should espouse the claim of the ground handlers under the garb of PIL, that too posing himself as a “messiah of the masses” and trying to interfere in a commercial contract matter. No PIL was maintainable in commercial contract matters.
The Bench did not appreciate the petitioners’ contention that only with an ulterior motive, Chennai and Kolkata airports were clubbed together by officials.
In a commercial contract matter if a free hand was not given to government, it would result in loss to the exchequer.