Delhi High Court held that the Court should not interfere under A. 226, with the administrator’s decision unless it was illogical or suffers from procedural impropriety or was shocking to the conscience of the court, in the sense that it was in defiance of logic or moral standards.
The Court was entertaining a petition against DIAL, whereby an airline ‘Indigo’ was directed to spilt its operation between two terminals and directed operate its certain flights from Terminal 2 of IGI Airport in a matter titled as Interglobe Aviation Limited vs Union of India, OMP (COMM) No. _____ of _____, decided on 20th December, 2017.
It was challenged by ‘Indigo’ that ‘DIAL’ has failed to adhere to a fair, transparent and balanced approach, in arriving at the decision to safeguard the interest of the public and the concerned airlines, and, that, it was unilateral, unreasonable and unrealistic and that, splitting of operations of selective airlines, constituted an abuse of authority. It was also stated that the such a direction is violated Article 14 of Constitution of India and is wholly arbitrary, discriminatory, illegal and malafide.
Delhi High Court relying upon the decision of State of U.P. v. Sheo Shanker Lal Srivastava [(2006) 3 SCC 276, held that Court should not interfere with the administrator’s decision unless it was illogical or suffers from procedural impropriety or was shocking to the conscience of the court, in the sense that it was in defiance of logic or moral standards.
The court would not go into the correctness of the choice made by the administrator open to him and the court should not substitute its decision for that of the administrator. The scope of judicial review is limited to the deficiency in decision-making process and not the decision.
However, High Court, further relying upon Coimbatore District Central Coop. Bank [(2007) 4 SCC 669, held that If an action taken by any authority is contrary to law, improper, irrational or otherwise unreasonable, a court of law can interfere with such action by exercising power of judicial review. One of such modes of exercising power, known to law is the ‘doctrine of proportionality’.
High Court noted that steps so taken by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and ‘DIAL’ do reflect all fairness in their approach for every attempt being made to accommodate the subject airlines, as far as possible thus it cannot be faulted with for being either unilateral or inequitable. Further the Court noted that DIAL took this decision when the airlines failed to respond to its repeated requests and the proposals, inasmuch as, the operations of the airport is the prime responsibility of ‘DIAL’, which, it seeks to discharge. In view of the foregoing, the petition was dismissed.