The Bombay High Court on Wednesday permitted the 80-year-old Bombay Flying Club (BFC) to continue its operations even as its dispute over alleged non-payment of dues continues.
The court has stayed the operation of an order of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) dated March 30,in which the AAI claimed that an amount of Rs 2.25 crore was due to the authority.
The club has now been directed to pay an amount of Rs 2.5 lakh per month to the authority pending the dispute,and has been allowed to continue its operations.
A division Bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar also asked the BFC to approach the Union Civil Aviation Ministry to put forward its case.
The club was set up in the year 1931 and had J R D Tata as one of its earliest members. It paid a token rent of Rs 1 per year to the state government till 2007,after which the land was taken over by the AAI.
The AAI then began charging the club an amount of Rs 5 lakh per month,which has been challenged by the BFC.
Arguing for the petitioners,senior counsel Venkatesh Dhond and lawyer Ameet Naik contended that the BFC is a non-profit organisation and called the action of the AAI as completely arbitrary.
They claimed that the club does not earn any profit from charging fees to its students and uses it to pay for lease rent and maintenance of the aircrafts.
The petitioners also questioned why such action was not taken against similar organisations in the city,and claimed that they were being singled out.
The court has now adjourned the matter till June.