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Bombay High Court says Centre should consider uniform policy to name all airports

PIL contends the Centre must not act upon proposals by States to name airports, including the upcoming airport at Navi Mumbai

The Bombay High Court on Friday said the new Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia must consider formulating a uniform policy for naming all airports across the country.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G.S. Kulkarni was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Filji Frederick seeking directions to the Centre to frame a uniform policy to name and rename airports. The PIL contends the Centre must not act upon proposals by States to name airports, including the upcoming airport at Navi Mumbai, until a policy is framed.

The court remarked the first task of the new Civil Aviation Minister must be to formulate such a policy.

The court said it would not allow recent instances like the one at Navi Mumbai, where around 20,000 people from local communities have demanded that the new airport be named after late activist and Parliamentarian D.B. Patil.

Last month, the Maharashtra government and City and Industrial Development Corporation had announced that an airport would be named after the late Bal Thackeray, founder of the Shiv Sena party.

The court asked, “We would like to know the present position of the draft policy. Over this issue of naming [of airports], we took the State government to task last month as there was a gathering violating COVID-19 protocols, with nearly 25,000 people. Why should we allow this?”

The court told Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, “If there is a new policy still in the draft stage, get it done now. You have a new set of Ministers now. Let this be the work of the new Aviation Ministry. It should be the first task of the new Aviation Minister.”

The matter will be heard next on July 16.

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