The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Air India to file a reply on whether the authenticity of educational certificates presented by commercial pilots who graduated from other states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were verified before they are allowed to fly.
A division Bench of Justices V M Kanade and Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Manisha Kanagali, alleging that many pilots obtained their commercial flying licenses on the basis of fake educational degrees.
Questioning if there was any mechanism to find out if the degrees submitted by candidates were fake, the HC issued directions to the DGCA and Air India. “Is any test conducted to verify Class XII degrees produced by candidates, especially in cases where they have passed from other states like Bihar. Inquiry has been made by a previous order also. We give a last chance to carry out the exercise,” said the HC. The court also said that if such people were pilots, one should think twice before flying.
The PIL had earlier sought suspension of the licence of the complainant’s brother, who has been a captain with Air India for 18 years. The PIL had stated that his Class XII certificates were fake and forged from a Bihar University. Although he was suspended by the airlines in June 2015, it urged for the cancellation of his flying licence.
The advocate appearing for Kanagali had earlier said many pilots with fake certificates and degrees were suspended by their airlines but because their licences were not cancelled, they joined other airlines. He added that the DGCA should look into such cases. The court observed this was a serious issue and that the DGCA should verify the authenticity of educational certificates of those who sought commercial flying licences.