INDIA. The Supreme Court will reconvene on 3 March to consider Bangalore International Airport Limited’s (BIAL) challenge to last year’s Karnataka High Court overruling of BIAL’s duty free contract award to The Nuance Group and Shoppers’ Stop.

The Karnataka High Court decision, mirroring a similar Bombay High Court ruling in Mumbai last year, had allowed a petition by Flemingo Duty Free Shops Pvt Ltd seeking for the award to be quashed. Flemingo had alleged that it was wrongly excluded from both tender shortlists.

On Monday 16 February the Supreme Court declined to grant a stay of execution to BIAL and listed the matter to be reconvened on 3 March for a final hearing.

Crucially, the respective High Courts ruled that both Mumbai International Airport Limited and BIAL were “˜state’ bodies (and therefore bound by certain obligations in the contractual process), despite their public-private-partnership ownership models. On 19 December 2008 the Karnataka High Court set aside the BIAL award and directed BIAL to issue a fresh tender within 45 days.

But the case took an added twist this week, with the involvement of ITDC. The state-owned duty free retailer had also taken up legal action against the BIAL tender. On Monday the court tagged ITDC to the BIAL case, based on the earlier Flemingo ruling.

“We expect the matter to be resolved by 6 March,” a source close to the matter told The Moodie Report.

A new tender is shaping as increasingly likely. In that case incumbent Bengaluru International Airport duty free retailer The Nuance Group/Shoppers’ Stop would almost certainly seek compensation.

NOTE: The Moodie Report India, part of our dedicated regional news section on this website, contains all stories on India’s travel retail industry dating back to early 2003. You can access it via the dropdown menu on our home page under Regional News or by simply clicking here.



Supreme Court grants stay of execution for Bangalore duty free award reversal – but only for ten days – 08/02/09

Bengaluru International Airport spurred by new User Development Fee for domestic departing passengers – 12/01/09

Bangalore International Airport Limited reviews options after Flemingo court victory – 07/01/09

Flemingo challenge to Bangalore duty free contract is allowed by High Court; rebid touted – 20/12/08