"Is it not part of your policy guidelines to provide services to far-flung places like North East and Shimla," a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice R Banumathi asked.

"You (government/Air India) are only promoting interests of operators and you don't think about connectivity," it said, adding that the private operators have been granted licenses as "largesse" and they were interested in "lucrative" routes like Mumbai-Delhi.
"This (granting licenses) is like largesse, as you grant them without asking them (private operators) to run services on not so lucrative routes," it said.

The bench, which had earlier sought a status report from Air India on feasibility of air service connecting Shimla with Chandigarh and Delhi, was unimpressed and said, "we do not want this dilly-dallying. We thought you will do something, but things remained as they were."
Additional Solicitor General P S Patwalia, appearing for the state-run carrier, sought time and said Air India would come out with a response. The court then posted the matter for further hearing on April 21.
While the bench was expressing displeasure and keeping the matter for passing an order on appointing an independent person and even suggested the named of former CAG Vinod Rai, the ASG sought a last opportunity to address the issue.
"I am seeking time to convey the sentiments of this court more forcefully," the ASG said. Earlier, the apex court had wanted to know from the airline about its "ultimate plan" to connect Shimla with New Delhi and Chandigarh and asked Air India's Chairman and Managing Director to place a report within six weeks.
It had however ordered maintenance of status quo on the December 7, 2015 direction passed by the Himachal Pradesh High Court asking Air India, Airports Authority of India and others concerned to start scheduled flights on a trial basis from Jubbar-Hatti airport, 22 km from Shimla.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who had appeared for Air India CMD, submitted that the airline is examining the suggestions to at least connect Shimla and Chandigarh with 40- seater aircraft as the runway at Jubbar-Hatti Airport is very small.


Latest News from India News Desk