A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy questioning the legality of providing enhanced seat allocation to Etihad airlines via a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Abu Dhabi in April 2013, is coming up before the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra.
What was the Jet-Etihad deal?
In the last hearing on this case, on October 27, 2017, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of the BJP leader that a Parliamentary committee shared his view on the bilateral agreement between India and the UAE on increasing the number of flights.
Earlier, the court had asked Swamy to file an amended plea, seeking to quash the Jet-Etihad alliance, by also challenging the bilateral air services agreement between India and the UAE.
Previous hearing on March 15, 2016
When a bench consisting of Justice Thakur and Justice U U Lalit had heard this PIL in March 2016, they had suggested that Swamy implead other private airlines such as Indigo, Spice Jet etc. as it felt that revocation of seat arrangements with Etihad might benefit them. In his petition, Swamy alleged that the concessions given to Etihad Airlines were a way of compensating the Emir of Abu Dhabi for the losses suffered by Etisalat on account of cancellation of 2G licenses by the apex court. He told the court that Emir of Abu Dhabi was also the head of Etisalat.
At this, the court said that he could say this (alleged concession to Etihad) “was for a collateral purpose and not in public interest”.
Swamy had in 2013 challenged the Jet-Etihad deal and its approval by the government permitting UAE’s national carrier to acquire 24 percent stakes in Jet Airways.
Alleging that there was lack of transparency in the deal, the PIL by Swamy had said that it would result in “a grant of largesse of national asset in favour of a foreign airline (Etihad Airways) resulting in undue enrichment and enormous pecuniary advantage to such foreign airline at the cost and expense of the public, national and domestic airlines as well as airports”.
The PIL had assailed the government for entering into agreement with UAE permitting Etihad Airways to carry 36,670 more passengers over and above permitted 13,330 passengers per week, describing the increase in capacity entitlement as “unprecedented, arbitrary, irrational and unsustainable”.
 Jet-Etihad deal: Court asks Swamy to add private airlines in his PIL – Mar 15, 2016, PGurus.com
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