Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha Saturday said that safety of air passengers is of utmost priority of the government and that unruly or disruptive behaviour will result in ‘severe consequences’. In a series of tweets, the minister said that the ministry is working on giving more teeth to existing laws so as to form a no-fly list to prevent such instances in the future and as well as for the improvement of safety. He added that the ‘consequences’ of such unruly behavior will include police action for the respective incident as well as one’s name on a possible no-fly list.
Replying to tweets, Sinha said, “Case has been registered against Shri Gaikwad including Sections 308 (culpable homicide) and 355 (assault) for Mar 23 incident.” In response to another tweet, he said “Police investigation is underway, FIRs have been filed, and justice will surely be delivered.”
He also said, “A flying ban is meant to prevent future unruly behaviour, not to punish past behaviour. We now have an undertaking for future behaviour,” adding, “Accordingly, the ban has been revoked. As far as the Mar 23 incident is concerned, police investigation will determine action.”
The announcement comes in the wake of Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaekwad allegedly assaulting an Air India staffer. The incident was captured on video which had gone viral. Subsequently, the airlines had put him on an unofficial no-fly list, a move which was supported and later joined in by many air carriers. The ban on the MP was lifted Friday by Air India and other carriers, after directions from the aviation ministry.
The issue had spiraled into a controversy, with a debate in parliament as well Gaekwad apologising to the house. He, however, had refused to apologise to the airline or the staffer he allegedly got into a scuffle with. Members of Shiv Sena, an ally of the ruling BJP, had threatened to disrupt services of Air India from the Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.