The Most We Can Do Is Pass A Hat Around The Courtroom For Charity: Bombay HC CJ On Petition Seeking Jet Airways' Bailout
The Bombay High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking a bailout of Jet Airways by a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India and "emergent funds by the government" for meeting day-to-day expenses. A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice NM Jamdar was hearing the petition filed by "frequent fliers" of the airline.
Advocate Mathews Nedumpara is one of the petitioners in the matter and is also appearing on behalf of the petitioners.
The bench refused to intervene in the crisis and Chief Justice Nandrajog retorted-
"We cannot ask the government to rescue a sick company. The only thing we can do is that if you get a hat, we can pass it around this courtroom for collecting money for charity."
The petitioners quoted a press note issued by General Manager, Corporate Communications, Jet Airways, stating that "late last night the Jet Airways was informed by the State Bank of India (SBI) on behalf of the consortium of Indian lenders that they are unable to consider its request for critical interim funding; that since no emergency funding from the lenders or other sources is forthcoming, the airline will not be able to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going. Consequently, with immediate effect Jet Airways is compelled to cancel all its international and domestic flights, the last flight will operate today."
The cash-strapped airline already owed lenders Rs. 8,000 crore and had sought an emergency fund of Rs. 400 crore in order to pay for 'fuel and certain critical services' but was refused.
Further, the petition blamed Naresh Goyal, Chairman, Jet Airways, for his "refusal to quit and pave way for the new investors".
The petition stated: "Equally to be blamed is the total failure on the part of the Government to sense the impending crisis and to find a resolution to it. The Government did nothing to prevent the unfortunate scenario where the country's largest airline is brought to a sudden halt, which the Government should have well foreseen."
The bench dismissed the petition and advised the petitioners to approach the National Company Law Tribunal.