An Indian Air Force pilot, who was awarded Rs 55 lakh as compensation by the government and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for injuries suffered in a MiG-21 crash, on Friday moved the Supreme Court to get the stay on the grant of the award lifted. A vacation bench of Justices Shantanagoudar and Deepak Gupta listed Sanjeet Singh Kaila’s petition for hearing on July 17.
On a plea of the government and HAL, the apex court had last month stayed the May 2 order of the Delhi High Court granting compensation to Kaila for being exposed to unreasonable risk. The High Court had asked the government and HAL to jointly pay the amount. The incident dates back to January 4, 2005, when Kaila who was posted as Squadron Leader at Rajasthan’s Nal air base was on a routine exercise with three other aircraft. Minutes after take-off, Kaila experienced a drift to the left only to discover a fire at the rear end of his plane, according to his petition.
The officer, however, steered the jet away from a populated village nearby and ejected seconds before the jet crashed. Kaila survived but was left with permanent damage to the spine.