Trinamool Congress (TMC) Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien has written to the Parliamentary standing committee of transport, tourism and culture to take up suo motu the issue of travel restrictions imposed by four airlines on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra.
Kamra was banned from flying by the airlines after he filmed himself heckling journalist Arnab Goswami on board an Indigo flight last month.
In a letter to committee chairman T G Venkatesh, O’Brien wrote: “I would like to draw your attention to the unlawful ban arbitrarily imposed by four major airline carriers on Mr Kunal Kamra for unruly behaviour, without conducting an inquiry into the matter…”
Kamra had shared the video on social media. He was subsequently banned from flying by Indigo, which was followed by similar bans imposed by Air India, Go Air, and Spicejet. This was triggered by Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri’s “endorsement” of the Indigo ban, O’Brien insinuates in his letter.
The TMC leader wrote: “Indigo took suo motu cognizance of the incident and imposed a six-month flying ban on the passenger calling his conduct ‘unacceptable’. Mr Kamra was denied an opportunity to be heard. No inquiry was held, as is mandated by the applicable rules laid down by DGCA. The ban was endorsed by the Union minister, advising other airlines to impose similar restrictions… these bans were also imposed without any inquiry.”
The rules on handling on unruly passengers list “three categories of unruly behavior”. In all three cases, the complaint would need to be filed by the pilot-in-command. However, the pilot on Kamra’s flight has denied filing any such complaint.
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