Jet Airways, Etihad Airways case: Compat questions locus standi of ex-Air India executive director

Written by Kaushal shroff | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 11 2014, 19:56pm hrs
Jet-Etihad dealCompat asked Jitender Bhargava to consider withdrawing his appeal against CCI?s approval of the Jet-Etihad deal. PTI
The Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) on Monday asked former Air India executive director Jitender Bhargava to consider withdrawing his appeal against fair trade watchdog CCIs approval of the Rs 2,060-crore Jet-Etihad deal and file it before an appropriate authority such as a high court or the Supreme Court.

For now, though, the tribunal has posted the matter for further hearing on February 24.

During the proceedings, counsel on behalf of Bhargava repeatedly sought to impress upon the court that Bhargava as a public-spirited person and a person, who is intimately familiar with the working of the aviation sector has the requisite locus standi to raise an objection against the approval granted by the fair trade regulator, adding that as per the Competition Commission of India Act, any person aggrieved with an order or direction of the CCI could approach the Compat.

However, the tribunal, in response, told Bhargava that the locus standi in such a case would rest with a competing airline and not with a pro-bono petitioner such as Bhargava.

I am extremely doubtful of your locus standi. Merely because you have been serving with Air India does not mean that you have the requisite jurisdiction to approach this tribunal, Justice VS Sirpurkar of the three-member bench told the petitioner, while pointing out that, in such a case, it is Air India, which can approach the tribunal.

Speaking to FE, Bhargava took aim at his former employer saying There would have been nothing better than Air India doing what I have done but I have known Air India for too long and if a company fails to defend itself when its own interests are at stake, how would one expect Air India to take up a cause when it concerns the entire Indian aviation industry.