Court reserves order on charging Airport Development Fee

August 20th, 2009 - 8:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday reserved its order on a public interest petition challenging the collection of airport development fee (ADF) from passengers departing from the Indira Gandhi International Airport here.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan reserved their order for Aug 25 after hearing the arguments from the Airports Authority of India, Delhi International Authority Limited (DIAL) and Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL).

DIAL counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi submitted before the bench: “The fee is an inter-generational fee and is being charged from passengers keeping in mind the future prospects.”

On Wednesday, Solicitor General Gopal Subrahmaniam, appearing for the government, submitted that “development of airports is a private initiative and therefore charging fees is not wrong and well within the law.”

“The airport is to develop the area surrounding it and the existing Airport Authority Act allows various airports to charge the ADF,” he added.

Appearing for MIAL, senior counsel Harish Salve argued: “When we can charge the airline companies for using landing, housing and parking facilities, then why can’t we charge the passengers for using the other services at the airport?”

The public interest petition has challenged the ADF of Rs.200 cess on all outgoing domestic passengers and Rs.1,300 on international ones since March 1, 2009.

Apart from alleging that the money being charged for airport development work was “placing undue burden on travelling public”, the petition also argues that in return for the payment the passenger is not being offered any extra facility or value by DIAL.

In March, the government asked all airlines flying out of Delhi to collect a development fee from the passengers while issuing air tickets and not when they are checking in at the airport.

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