A day after different airlines lifted the ban imposed on Telugu Desam Party MP J C Diwakar Reddy, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said Thursday that airlines have no authority to impose a flying ban on anybody, including parliamentarians, as he added that the law of the land should take its course.
“MPs are also citizens … if they commit a crime or mistake, the law of the land should take recourse to it,” the Deputy Chairman said after Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agrawal raised the issue of flying ban by major domestic airlines, including state-owned Air India, asking if the airlines could impose such restrictions. Such an action was a breach of privilege of the Members of Parliament, Agrawal said.
Kurien replied saying he agreed Agrawal has raised a “valid point” and if any MP has committed a crime or something against the law, the law of the land should take its course. “Airlines are not given the authority to punish anybody. I think the government should take note of it.”
“It is a punishment imposed on an MP for some crime…This cannot be done. This is not a thing to be punished by airlines,” he was quoted as saying by PTI. While Congress MP Anand Sharma said the word ‘crime’ should be replaced with ‘violation,’ Kurien said if a person beats up someone, it is a crime.
On June 15, Reddy got into a verbal spat with IndiGo ground staff at Visakhapatnam airport and threw a printer after he was informed that boarding for his flight had been closed. Before Reddy, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad had been banned from flying domestic airlines after he repeatedly hit an Air India officer with slippers for not providing him a business class seat on an all-economy flight. The ban was later lifted.