Delhi High Court today questioned the authority under which the Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) was levying a charge of Rs 150 as entry fee on all commercial vehicles entering IGI airport to ferry passengers.
“How are you charging this entry fee of Rs 150? What authority do you have to levy this fee? This levy of Rs 150 has to be supported by statutory provisions,” Justice Manmohan said during arguments on cab firm Magic Sewa’s plea against the levy of the fee.
In response to the court’s query, DIAL said it had flaoted a tender for providing 24-hour-long taxi service at airport and the cab companies, Easy, Meru and Mega Taxi, who were the successful bidders, were allowed to enter and pickup or drop-off passengers.
DIAL said that these three cab companies are paying a lump sum amount every month for this privilege and added that the Rs 150 fee has been levied as a “deterrent” to “discourage” other cab companies from entering the airport and “choking” the traffic there.
It also said it has the right to charge for this privilege under the Airports Authority of India (AAI) Act.
To the court’s query as to whether the levy was approved by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA), DIAL said AERA’s approval was not required as it was not an aeronautical tariff.
DIAL also said that under the Operation, Management and Development Agreement (OMDA) it has with AAI regarding the IGI airport, AERA will take 30 per cent of the Rs 150 to cross subsidise the aeronautical tariff.
Thus, the amount is accounted for and is put before AERA, DIAL said and added that other cabs, including the petitioner, can wait in the multi-level parking, which costs Rs 80 for half an hour, and passengers can go over there to take a taxi.
The petitioner, Magic Sewa, on the other hand contended that it is a licensed taxi operator as per Delhi government’s City Taxi scheme and cannot be denied entry to the airport by levy of the fee.
It also said that such a fee was not being levied at the other airports under AAI’s control and alleged that the amount being charged was being pocketed by DIAL.
The court after hearing the arguments directed the petitioner and DIAL to file their written submissions in a week and reserved its verdict.