Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Air passengers not wearing masks properly to be treated as unruly, DGCA to court

New Delhi: The DGCA informed the Delhi High Court on Wednesday that action is being taken against passengers not wearing masks properly despite repeated warnings and they will be de-boarded from planes before departure and treated as “unruly passengers".

The high court expressed satisfaction over the steps being taken by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and said it hoped that the action would continue in the same spirit considering the safety of passengers from COVID-19 infection.

A bench of Justices Navin Chawla and C Hari Shankar observed that the court was initially planning to keep the suo motu case open to continue monitoring the implementation of directions issued by the court earlier.

However, after noticing the proactive action by the DGCA, the court decided to close the case and observed that initiation of punitive action against the violators is a welcome step, the bench said.

Justice Shankar had on March 8 taken suo motu cognisance of the situation after witnessing passengers not wearing masks properly during transportation from airport to the flight and their stubborn reluctance to wear masks properly.

The court, which had issued various guidelines to DGCA and all other airlines for immediate compliance, said it was constrained to pass the order because of an alarming situation which was witnessed by the judge himself during the Air India flight from Kolkata to New Delhi on March 5.

DGCA, represented through Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma and advocate Anjana Gosain, informed the court that following its directions, it issued a circular on March 13 relating to strict guidelines to be followed in the airports.

"On board the aircraft, in case any passenger does not adhere to wearing of mask properly even after repeated warning, he/ she should be de-boarded, if need be, before departure," the circular stated.

17/03/21 PTI/

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