SC overturns Meghalaya HC order, Umroi airport operations put on hold
The Supreme Court Thursday stayed the Meghalaya High Court order directing all commercial operators and the aviation ministry to urgently take a decision to start flights from Umroi airport, 30 km from capital Shillong.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the submissions of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Indigo airlines that there were no firefighting and other facilities available at Umroi airport and flight operations cannot be started immediately.
"The high court order shall remain stayed," said the bench which also comprised Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
Rohatgi said there was no petition before the high court, which on its own (suo motu), took note of the issue and directed Director General of Civil Aviation, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India Chairman to hold a meeting within a week for making the airport operational.
"The airport does not have the fire-fighting facilities and the high court cannot be a regulator or firefighter," the senior lawyer said.
"This is not a taxi service to be taken from here to there and to start it just like that," he said.
Moreover, he added, Indigo does not have the slots for operating flights from the Umroi airport.
The court issued notice on the plea of the private airlines and stayed the operation of the high court order.
The court was told that the airport was not ready for the landing of big aircraft.
The high court on December 7 had directed that the exercise for taking the decision to make operational the airport has to be completed within seven days and had posted the matter for further hearing on December 14.
Besides Indigo, other operators were also represented by their advocates before the high court.
(With inputs from agencies.)