Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Why ban Kunal Kamra when complaint comes later? Delhi HC asks IndiGo

Kunal Kamra

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday gave the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) two days to take instructions on what steps it intends to take regarding the action by IndiGo airlines to ban comedian Kunal Kamra from flying in its planes.
Kamra had filed a plea seeking to lift the ban by IndiGo which barred him for six months from using its services for allegedly heckling television anchor Arnab Goswami on a flight last month.
Following IndiGo’s decision, SpiceJet, GoAir and Air India also banned Kamra from using their services. In his petition, Kamra sought directions to DGCA to order the airlines to revoke the ban.
Justice Navin Chawla also sought to know from IndiGo why it banned the comedian even before the airlines had received any formal complaint.
“Why bar him when complaint comes to you later”? the judge asked IndiGo’s counsel Sandeep Sethi.
Sethi said that he can show the minutes of the meeting when the decision was taken.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Vivek Tankha informed the Court that he had made a representation to the DGCA. He said that the DGCA should take action in its capacity as an airline regulator.
However, the DGCA’s counsel said that it does not have anything to do with this petition. It said that none of directions are in its jurisdiction and none of the prayers is applicable for DGCA.
The Court said that Indigo will have to show on which complaint they took the action of banning Kamra.
ASG Maninder Kaur Acharya, for Centre and DGCA said that she has strong objection against the petitioner. She said that under these circumstances an internal committee should be set up to deal with the compliant.
“Now the matter to be referred to the Internal Committee. It is to give the final decision within 30 days,” she said.
The DGCA sought time to take instructions following which the Court kept the matter for further hearing on Wednesday. It also refused to grant any interim order despite Tankha seeking one.
“Grant me interim order…all other airlines refused to allow him to fly,” Tankha said.
However the Court said that it cannot go beyond what was mentioned in his petition and posted the matter for February 27.
Earlier this month, Kamra sent a legal notice to IndiGo seeking an unconditional apology from the airline as well as monetary compensation for causing him “mental pain and agony”.
The pilot who was flying the IndiGo plane in which Kamra was travelling, later wrote to the airline, asserting that the comedian’s conduct through the flight may be considered “unsavoury” but could not be classified to be that of a “Level 1 Unruly passenger”.