A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw heard arguments of Spicejet, Ireland-based B&B Air Acquisition and the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and reserved its verdict on the aircraft leasing company’s plea.
B&B has sought directions to DGCA to cancel Certificate of Registration (CoR) of five Boeing 737 aircraft, leased by it to the no-frill airline, and grounding them.
Senior advocate Ramji Srinivasan, appearing for B&B, said that its lease agreement with the airline was terminated in December last year over alleged non-payment of dues, including rent of the aircraft.
After termination of lease, the company wrote to DGCA to cancel registration of the aircraft, but the regulator did not do so on the ground that the CoR has not been returned by Spicejet.
DGCA on January 9 wrote to Spicejet asking it to return the CoR as well as deactivate the transponder ‘mode S’ codes of the five aircraft, but till date the airline has not returned the certificate nor deactivated the transponder codes as it was still operating the planes, the Irish company said.
Transponder codes are used by aircraft to communicate with the air traffic controllers (ATCs), for the latter to identify the plane. No aircraft can be operated without it.
The company also said that a single-judge of the High Court had in December last year directed DGCA to expeditiously decide the application for de-registration of the aircraft, but till date no action has been taken apart from sending the January 9 letter.
Under the 2001 Cape Town Convention on international transactions involving movable property, to which India was a signatory, DGCA was duty bound to have taken action within five days of sending its January 9 letter, B&B claimed.
DGCA in its defence said the application was in process and the entire procedure would take more time than five days as it has to also inspect air worthiness of the aircraft before allowing them to leave the country.