CHANDIGARH—The ban announced by IndiGo and other airlines including Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir on standup comedian Kunal Kamra is a clear violation of the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR Section 3, Series M, Part Vl on “Handling of Unruly Passengers) rules revised in 2017, said Arun Kumar, director general of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Speaking to HuffPost India, Kumar said that as per DGCA rules, in case of any unruly behaviour restricted to verbal confrontation, the airlines should first impose a temporary ban of 30 days on the passenger and conduct an internal enquiry headed by a retired judge into the incident.
“Air India has been wise enough to impose a ban for an indefinite period and is awaiting the outcome of the enquiry report conducted by the airlines. In incidents restricted to verbal confrontation, a ban should not be more than three months,” Kumar said.
When asked about the ban imposed on Kamra by other airlines, Kumar said it depends on the complaint received by crew members travelling on the flight.
“The airline should have waited for the internal enquiry to be completed before putting the passenger on the no-flyers list for six months,” the DGCA chief said.
Kamra was suspended from flying with IndiGo for six months after he confronted Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami about his style of reporting and politics. This was onboard flight 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow on January 28.
Later, other airlines including SpiceJet, Air India and GoAir also put him on the no-flyers list after Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardip Singh Puri tweeted an ‘advisory’ to other airlines to impose similar restrictions on Kamra. While SpiceJet announced a ban of six months, Air India announced an indefinite ban on Kamra.
The action on Kamra has begun a heated debate about the manner in which private airlines have rushed to do the government’s bidding with scant regard for the rules that govern them and the possible repercussions for other citizens.
Kamra has said that he was not shocked by the action, but maintained that he only exercised his right to free speech.
“At no point was I disruptive and at no point did I not follow orders of the cabin crew or the captain. At no point did I endanger the safety of any passenger on board. The only damage I caused was to the inflated ego to the journalist,” said Kamra in a statement issued to the media.
Via Huffington Post: