Delhi High Court: In a petition filed by Subramanian Swamy (petitioner) challenging the decision dated 03-04-2013 passed by the Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affairs, Government of India approving AirAsia Investment Ltd., a Malaysian company, to incorporate a new joint venture company with foreign equity of 49% and the balance 51% equity share to be held in the ratio of 30% by Tata Sons Ltd. and 21% by Telestra Trade Pvt. Ltd, a division bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, CJ., and Subramonium Prasad, J., disposed of the petition as there is no foreign investment as of today, thus, the prayers made in the writ petition have become purely academic.
It is the contention of the Petitioner that the said decision is contrary to the Foreign Direct Investment Policy (FDI) Policy of the Government of India and contrary to the guidelines laid down by the Nodal Ministry, i.e., the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (respondent 3) which does not permit foreign investment by a foreign airline and is also in the teeth of the objections by the Nodal Ministry.
It was stated that various revisions took place and as of March, 2019, the shareholding of AirAsia Pvt. Ltd. revised with Tata Sons Ltd. obtaining 51% and AirAsia Investment Ltd. holding 49%. The shareholding structure of Air Asia (India) Pvt. Ltd. was again revised in December, 2020, as a result of which Tata Sons Ltd held 83.67% and AirAsia Investment Ltd held 16.33%.
It was further stated that pursuant to the regulatory approvals of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) dated 14-06-2022 and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation approval dated 06-07-2022, the shareholding of AirAsia (India) Pvt. Ltd. was revised, and AirAsia (India) Pvt. Ltd. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India Ltd.
The Court concluded that as there is no foreign investment taking place as on date, the prayers made in the writ petition have become purely academic.
[Subramanian Swamy v Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 1544, decided on 13-03-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Kirtiman Singh, CGSC with Mr. Waize Ali Noor, Ms. Kunjala Bhadwaj, Mr. Madhav Bajaj and Mr. Yash Upadhyay, Advocates for UOI;
Ms. Anjana Gosain, Ms. Nippun Sharma and Ms. Hetika Vadhera, Advocates for R-3 and R-6;
Mr. Rajiv Nayyar, Sr. Advocate with Mr. Jaiveer Shergil, Ms. Ruby Singh Ahuja, Mr. Varun Khanna, Mr. Ishan Gaur, Mr. Akshay Aggarwal Mr. Vasu Singh, Ms. Mandhira and Ms. Aakriti Vohra, Advocates;
Mr. Anupam S. Sharma, SPP-CBI with Mr. Prakarsh Airan, Ms. Harpreet Kalsi, Mr. Abhishek Batra and Mr. Ripudaman Sharma, Advocates;
Mr. Anupam S. Sharma, Special Counsel-ED with Mr. Prakarsh Airan, Ms. Harpreet Kalsi Mr. Abhishek Batra and Mr. Ripudaman Sharma, Advocates.