The Civil Court has ordered MVK Maldives Private Limited to vacate the Alpha MVKB Duty Free shop and hand the premises to GMR Male’ International Airport Private Limited within 48 hours, or face eviction by the authorities. The deadline expires at 10:00am on Wednesday.
Civil Court Judge Maryam Nihayath ordered the Police and Customs Department to implement the verdict in the event that MVKB refused to comply.
MVK’s lawyer Azima Shukoor said that shop evacuation and handover by MVKB was not possible as the shop was currently the property of Customs. “There is nothing we can do about the 48-hour deadline since we don’t have access to the shop. We are forwarding the court order to Customs and requesting access to take inventory of the shop before anything further is done,” she said.
Shukoor explained that certain goods required specific air temperatures, and the shop does not currently have cupboards or shop doors.
Shukoor added that MVKB’s case had been appealed to the Supreme Court, and that the company is awaiting that ruling.
The verdict came after GMR filed a case in the Civil Court for the second time when MVKB refused to implement the earlier verdicts of the Civil and High Courts on the issue.
Judge Nihayath recalled that the High Court has ruled that MVKB has no right to use the land without GMR’s consent because it violates contractual rights.
On December 4, GMR officials began to physically remove the Alpha MVKB Duty Free Shop at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) after “several notices” to vacate the area were “ignored”.
On December 13, the High Court ruled that GMR had vacated the Alpha MVKB Duty Free Shop at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) legally and according to the agreement between both companies.
The High Court stated that GMR gave notice on March 1 and, as per the agreement, the contract terminated on March 31. As no party could extend the termination notice, the court concluded that MVKB had no right to remain at the airport without approval from GMR.
Company CEO Ibrahim Shafeeq subsequently organised a protest on Thursday, December 15 “to demonstrate our opinions and dislike of what GMR has done to us, and to get public responses.” Posters and banners read “Leave us Alone” and “GMR Go Home.”
Shafeeq today said the protest was “very successful, and more people are signing the petition [against GMR].”
Shafeeq said he would continue to protest GMR. “It hurt me and as an individual I have to defend myself,” he said.
Speaking to Minivan News yesterday at the groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of work on the new airport terminal, GMR Chairman G M Rao said the company had encountered similar resistance from existing concessionaires when developing airports in Delhi and Istanbul.