Monday, May 08, 2017

MP still not in jail

THE draft guidelines released to check disruptive and unruly behaviour on flights seem to have been hurriedly prepared, probably without any kind of vetting by legal experts. What constitutes an offence — unruly behaviour, a physical gesture or “life-threatening behaviour” — is not clearly defined. Even the punishment prescribed is vague — “two or more years” for “life-threatening behaviour”. The duration of the ban on a passenger found guilty is left to the discretion of each airline. Technicalities apart, airlines cannot ensure staff and passenger safety or curb acts of misdemeanour without back-up support from the police and the civil aviation authorities.
In the Ravindra Gaikwad incident, which has led to the proposal for a no-fly list for all airlines, the government and the legislature let down Air India. A message has gone across that rules are for the disciplined air travellers, not for the likes of Ravindra Gaikwad. Rules are normally not obeyed unless punishment follows every violation. Gaikwad, a Shiv Sena MP, proudly confessed on TV channels that he beat up the 62-year-old Air India staffer with a “chappal”. Under media pressure possibly, the Delhi Police did register an FIR but there the matter rests. That the assault happened is not in doubt, nor is the identity of the criminal. Evidence is available in the form of self-confession; witnesses too are there. And yet the MP is not in jail. Rules will not help if a crime goes unpunished.
08/05/17 The Tribune