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Delhi HC pulls up DGCA over flying ban on Kunal Kamra

While hearing a petition filed by Kamra, Justice Navin Chawla said the aviation regulator should not have “certified” the action of airlines, other than IndiGo, which imposed an indefinite flying ban without an inquiry.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 26, 2020 4:26:43 am
kunal kamra, arnab goswami, air india, spicejet, dgca, kunal kamra stand up, flying ban on Kunal Kamra, Kunal Kamra video, indian express Apart from IndiGo, Kamra was put on a no-fly list by Air India, GoAir and SpiceJet.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for asking airline companies to impose a flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra pending inquiry.

While hearing a petition filed by Kamra, Justice Navin Chawla said the aviation regulator should not have “certified” the action of airlines, other than IndiGo, which imposed an indefinite flying ban without an inquiry.

“Why did you (DGCA) give a certification on Twitter? Look at your tweet. You said the action by the other airlines was in compliance of the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR). Not just IndiGo, you gave a certificate to the others also. You should withdraw your tweet,” the court told the aviation regulator.

The court asked DGCA to take instructions on what steps it intends to take regarding the action by the other airlines and listed the matter for further hearing on Thursday.

The court observed that once Kamra had moved a complaint before DGCA, claiming violation of CAR by the airlines, the regulator cannot say it will not look into it.

In his petition, Kamra said he was banned by IndiGo for six months before its internal committee even arrived at a decision, while other airlines — Air India, Spicejet and GoAir — imposed an indefinite ban on him.

Kamra moved the High Court seeking directions to DGCA to direct the airlines to revoke the ban on the ground that it cannot be imposed without a complaint, as required under CAR.

Air India, GoAir and SpiceJet had placed Kamra on a no-fly list “until further notice”, which was questioned by Justice Chawla.

The ban was in response to an incident on board an IndiGo flight from Mumbai to Lucknow on January 28, during which Kamra allegedly harassed journalist Arnab Goswami. IndiGo suspended Kamra for six months due to his “unacceptable behaviour”.

Shortly after the incident, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in a tweet, advised other airlines to impose similar restrictions on Kamra.

Earlier this month, Kamra had sent a legal notice to IndiGo, demanding an unconditional apology, revocation of the ban, and compensation of Rs 25 lakh.

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