A large number of PILs on issues relating to demonetisation and litigations involving Tatas over management and operation of its JV airline AirAsia India and the iconic Taj Mansingh hotel in the heart of capital were among major financial and corporate cases handled by the Delhi High Court in 2016.
The high court, which was flooded with PILs on issues arising out of demonetisation, also gave much-needed relief to the Narendra Modi government by refusing to go into the “correctness” of the 8 November notification scrapping Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, saying courts should not venture into policy matters.
The order had come much before the Supreme Court, which had initially declined to stop the proceedings in various high courts, allowed the Centre’s plea to pass a direction that no court in the country other than itself will entertain matters relating to demonetisation.
Just when the Modi government was heaving a sigh of relief over demonetisation, it suffered a major setback as it failed to defend banning of 344 fixed dose combination drugs as multinational pharma and healthcare giants like Pfizer, Glenmark, Procter & Gamble and Cipla won the battle, with the judge saying the decision was taken in a “haphazard manner”.
So was the case relating to the auctioning of coal block when in a crucial judgement, the high court held that the government’s decision to club different specified end-uses together, barring power, for auctioning of coal blocks “ran counter” to the logic of classification itself.
Fortunately, the court dismissed the pleas of some private companies challenging this decision of the Coal Ministry observing that they had participated in the tendering process for coal auctioning which was known to them.
When the Tata-Mistry controversy hogged the limelight, the Tata group suffered a setback as the high court cleared the decks for auctioning of Taj Mansingh Hotel in Lutyen’s Delhi by giving a go-ahead to New Delhi Municipal Council, saying the group’s Indian Hotels Company Ltd, which runs the hotel, had “no right” of renewing the licence.
The Tatas also had a tough time when the high court asked AirAsia India, a joint venture between Tata Sons and AirAsia Berhad, to place before the DGCA its brand licensing agreement (BLA) with the Malaysian entity to determine who controls the Indian low-cost carrier.