Court stays aviation regulator's curbs on chopper firm
New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Monday stayed the order of the aviation regulator suspending the permit to fly choppers given to Global Vectra Helicorp, the aviation arm of the Ravi Rishi-led Vectra Group.
The court said it did not find any material on record to justify the withdrawal of the firm's security clearance by the home ministry.
Justice Vipin Sanghi said: "On a perusal of the files produced by the MHA (ministry of home affairs), the ministry of civil aviation and the DGCA (director general of civil aviation), prima facie, this court did not find any such material on record so as to justify such summary withdrawal of the security clearance of Global Vectra by the MHA, without putting Global Vectra to notice, and granting a hearing to them."
The DGCA May 7 suspended the firm's operating permit after the home ministry raised security concerns. The government had also withdrawn the security clearance of Ravi Rishi.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is currently probing the alleged role of Rishi, London-based Vectra Group's chairperson, in connection with the multi-crore-rupee deal for the heavy-duty all-terrain Tatra trucks for the army and the bribery allegations made by former army chief Gen. V.K. Singh.
The court said that there was no "grave urgency" to justify the immediate withdrawal of the security clearance by the home ministry and the withdrawal of the mon-scheduled operator's permit by the DGCA without communicating the reasons to the firm.
"The MHA cannot act independently of the civil aviation requirements in the matter of withdrawal of the security clearance ... only if the material before the MHA was such as to justify immediate and summary action of withdrawal of the security clearance, it could have done so," Justice Sanghi observed.
The court granted the interim relief to Global Vectra on the condition that the government would "be entitled to nominate two directors on the board of directors of Global Vectra".
Appearing for the company, senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul contended that the order on the company's operating permit had been passed without a show cause notice and hence was in complete violation of the principle of natural justice.
The company submitted that the home ministry informed the DGCA that security clearance of Ravi Rishi had been withdrawn. The DGCA then suspended the non-scheduled chopper operator's permit.
Counsel for the DGCA Anjana Gosain told the court that the regulator had only followed the process suggested by the home ministry, which was acting on grounds of public safety.
With a fleet of 23 choppers, the company operates onshore and offshore operations for oil companies and also caters to tourists in northeast India.
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