Delhi HC Closes Case Against Foreign Investment in Air Asia

The Delhi High Court has closed the proceedings on a petition challenging the flying licence and Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to AirAsia, saying the issue was “purely academic” in view of the absence of any foreign investment in the entity.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma recorded Air Asia (India) became a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India, which is now under Tata Sons Pvt. Ltd, last year and that the petitioner, former MP Subramanian Swamy, was no longer interested in pursuing the case filed in 2013.

“In view of the fact that there is no foreign investment as of today, the prayers made in the writ petition have become purely academic. The petitioner, who appears in person, has stated that he is no longer interested in pursuing the writ petition. In view of the statement made by the petitioner appearing in person, the writ petition stands disposed of,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad in the order dated March 13.

In his petition, Swamy had contended the flying rights granted to Air Asia, which was a joint venture of the Tata Group and Malaysia’s largest budget airline AirAsia Berhad, were in violation of the government’s policy on foreign investment.

He had said that according to the policy, foreign investment was allowed only in existing airlines and not meant for floating or starting a new airline, like AirAsia India.

the CBI and ED were also asked by the high court earlier to file their status report in sealed covers in relation to the allegations.

The Centre had denied there was any violation of FDI norms while granting approval to the low-cost AirAsia (India) Pvt Ltd.

It had said FDI was permissible in an existing airline as well as a new venture.

The Federation of Indian Airlines (FIA), which also opposed the flying license granted to AirAsia, had earlier alleged the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was “deliberately turning a blind eye” to the issue.

Swamy had earlier moved a petition to stay the airline’s application for permission to operate international flights. The high court had dismissed that plea.

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