The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition seeking directions to the Centre and Air India to provide sufficient personal protection equipment (PPE) kits to pilots and cabin crew members of flights being operated to repatriate foreign nationals to their respective countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his petition filed through advocate H S Nanda, Vaibhav Sharma alleged that even if PPE kits are being issued, they are not enough for the entire crew and are often oversized — in contradiction to the safety and security guidelines. The plea also demanded that pilots and other crew members should be quarantined near the airport instead of home quarantine after their return.
Noting that there are “circulars/advisories” already in place for such flights and crew, a bench of Justices J R Midha and Jyoti Singh said, “Government is taking all necessary steps to ensure protection of its airline crew members… as the safety of the pilots and the crew members who are helping out in the rescue operation in the present day circumstances is certainly a matter of concern to the government and to the court as well as every citizen of this country.”
The bench, which conducted the hearing through video-conferencing, observed that the “petitioner has not given any material particulars to enable this court to come to a conclusion that adequate measures are not being taken by the government to extend proper protective kits etc. to the crew members or that the home quarantine measures are having any adverse effects.”
The bench was of the view that “at this stage it is not possible to quarantine the crew members in hotels or separate buildings due to logistic issues” and looking at the population of our country and the magnitude of the pandemic, “home quarantine is the best possible measure, at least for the present”.
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