DIAL, ministry asked to clarify on ADF

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 22 2012, 05:46am hrs
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the ministry of civil aviation, GMR-led Delhi International Airport (DIAL), Airports Authority of India (AAI) and others to file an affidavit stating who is levying and collecting the Airport Development Fee (ADF) and how the funds are being utilised.

DIAL, which has been levying the fee since March 2009, allegedly charges between R200 and R1,300 per embarking from domestic and international passengers at the New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.

A bench headed by Justice DK Jain also said that it would decide the issue whether such levy should be struck down since the appellate tribunal for the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority is not functioning. It asked the parties to file their affidavits within 10 days.

The court also issued notice to the government and others on another petition filed by Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA) raising similar issues as that of Online Foundation (COF), an NGO.

The NGO had alleged that such illegal levy and collection of ADF at the airport, amounting to thousands of crores, should be struck down as the same was quashed by by the apex court in April 26, last year, but was allowed by the the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority Appellate Tribunal.

Questioning the AERA's authority in determining ADF on private entity DIAL's plea, the NGO had challenged tribunal's order that dismissed its plea on the ground of delay in filing the appeal. COF said that it is AAI which can levy and collect ADF and DIAL cannot assume such powers.

AERA in November last year had affirmed the levy which was endorsed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in February 2009.

Besides, the apex court's judgment makes it clear that AAI has to make a payment to DIAL and it is not for DIAL to plead either the costs at the premises of a leased airport or an escalation in the costs of activities at the premises of a leased airport, or to plead before the AERA for determination of ADF, COF said, adding that the passengers could not be burdened with the heavy fee beyond the stipulated period of three years and alternative economic modes of bridging the gap in financing should be explored.