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DGCA ought not to have certified airlines' action banning Kunal Kamra, says HC

DGCA ought not to have certified airlines action banning Kunal Kamra, says HC

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said aviation regulator DGCA ought not to have "certified" action of the airlines, other than IndiGo, which imposed an indefinite flying ban without an inquiry on stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra for allegedly heckling journalist Arnab Goswami on a flight.

"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," Justice Navin Chawla said to the regulator.

The court further said, "You have to now satisfy this court that their (airlines) action was in consonance with the CAR."

The DGCA's lawyer said she will take instructions on the query raised by the court and urged that the matter be listed on February 27, to which the judge agreed.

The court, during the hearing, also said that once Kamra moved a complaint before the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) claiming violation of CAR by the airlines, the regulator cannot say it will not look into it.

The comedian, represented by senior advocates Vivek Tankha, Gopal Sankaranarayanan and Mohit Mathur, has claimed that all the airlines imposed the flying ban on him without there being a complaint as required under the CAR.

In his plea, Kamra has said he was banned by IndiGo for a six-month period before it even received a complaint.

He has further said the complaint, as per CAR, has to be made by the pilot of the flight, but in the instant case it was not done and despite that the airline constituted an internal committee which is scheduled to have a final hearing of the matter on February 26.

Kamra has contended that the other airlines -- Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir -- banned him for an indefinite period without even setting up an internal committee to enquire into the issue.

During the hearing, the court also questioned how the other airlines acted without a committee and put him on a no-fly list.

The comedian has sought directions to the DGCA to direct the airlines to revoke the ban and also action against them for alleged violation of CAR.

The DGCA in its defence said it was only a regulator and the airlines had the freedom under CAR to take action against passengers for unruly or disruptive behaviour.

"As per CAR, it is an internal decision of the airlines," DGCA told the court and added that the other carriers be also made a party in the matter as the regulator cannot answer for

them.

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