Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Kerala plane crash: HC dismisses PIL for CBI probe as premature

Kochi: The Kerala high court has dismissed as premature a petition seeking a probe by a former Supreme Court or high court judge into the crash landing of Air India Express flight 1344 at Kozhikode Calicut International Airport (CCJ) on August 7th this year.

A division bench comprising chief justice S Manikumar and justice Shaji P Chaly considered a petition (WP-C No. 24216/2020) filed by advocate Yeshwanth Shenoy.

The court said there is a clear-cut procedure laid out for conducting a probe into aircraft accidents and it is not right for the court to interfere when such a probe is going on. The petition is premature and the power of the court is never intended to interfere in ongoing proceedings. The court also said the demand for registration of an FIR by CBI is also premature as any criminality can only be unearthed by the ongoing probe.

It was demanded in the public interest litigation (PIL) the airport should be closed down until it is ensured that domestic and international air regulations are complied with. There is nothing that stops the lightning from striking twice, the plea had said.

Specific communications were addressed to the state authorities about the condition of the runway at Calicut airport, including one by justice VR Krishna Iyer to then prime minister Manomohan Singh, the petition had said while alleging that authorities had 10 years’ prior notice to prevent the Kozhikode incident.

Corruption is so rampant at Ministry of Civil Aviation, Airports Authority of India, DGCA, and Air India Express Ltd and safety record on paper and in reality are poles apart, it was alleged in the PIL. As these are restricted zones, an outsider cannot interfere. An employee of Airports Authority of India had given a statement to CBI pointing out that non-compliances and violations can lead to a major air crash, the PIL had said.

17/11/20 Mahit Haneef/Times of India

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