Madras HC dismisses union’s petition against Chennai airport privatisation

By: | Published: November 12, 2014 12:49 AM

The Madras High Court has dismissed a petition by the Airport’s Authority Employees’ Union challenging...

The Madras High Court has dismissed a petition by the Airport’s Authority Employees’ Union challenging the privatisation of the Chennai airport, pointing out that it was neither within the domain of the court nor the scope of judicial review to embark upon an inquiry as to whether a particular public policy was wise or a better one could be evolved.

Justice MM Sundresh, while disposing the petition, said: “Nor are the courts inclined to strike down a policy at the behest of a petitioner merely because it has been urged that a different policy would have been fairer or wiser or more scientific or more logical. Wisdom and advisability of economic policy are ordinarily not amenable to judicial review. In matters relating to economic issues the government has, while taking a decision, right to trial and error as long as both trial and error are bona fide and within the limits of the authority. For testing the correctness of a policy, the appropriate forum is Parliament and not the courts.”

The Madras HC had granted an interim injunction on the union’s plea in January this year, restraining AAI and adjourned the matter for further hearing.

V Prakash, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that no formal order has been passed by the Centre by way of a policy decision. The board of AAI has not been consulted. The impugned decision was contrary to Section 9A of the Industrial Disputes Act as it would likely lead towards retrenchment. The decision would create two sets of employees, one from the proposed successful bidder and the other the existing employees, who are the members of the petitioner union, the counsel argued.

G Rajagopalan, additional solicitor general, appeared for the Centre, submitted that the writ petition was not maintainable on law and facts. The petitioner, being a union cannot question the policy decision. The interest of the petitioner has been taken into consideration in the impugned document itself. The entire process is at the threshold stage and the report of the parliamentary committee would be considered at the appropriate time. A subsequent report would not nullify the earlier decision taken.

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