GMR wins stay order but Malé says no question of allowing airport contract

Maldives airport project

Indian infrastructure giant GMR won a short-lived reprieve from the Singapore High Court on Monday, which stayed the termination of its Malé airport project. However, immediately later, the Maldives government made clear its intentions not to allow the US $500 million contract, saying its order terminating the same was "non-reversible and non-negotiable".

After the Maldivian government's November 27 order on the contentious project under political pressure, GMR had moved the Singapore High Court. As per the project contract, in case of any differences between parties, the law of either Singapore or UK had to apply.

In a statement in Singapore, GMR said the high court had granted injunctive relief "against the applicability and operations" of the Maldivian government order.

However, Maldives President Mohamed Waheed's press secretary Masood Imad told PTI that they believed no such injunction can be issued against a sovereign state. "The government's decision is very clear. It is non-reversible and non-negotiable. Our decision was based on legal advice we got from our lawyers in the UK and Singapore... We believe the judge was incorrect in interpreting the law," Imad said.

He added that they had asked Maldivian Airport Company Ltd to go ahead with the takeover process, "that would be done later this week".

Imad also argued that "Where compensation is adequate, an injunction cannot be issued. A court cannot issue such an injunction against a sovereign state... ."

While Indian officials refused to comment, GMR Infrastructure vowed to carry on with its legal battle.

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