Monday, February 07, 2022

HC refuses interim relief against test for aviation personnel for psychoactive substances

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to interfere with the implementation of the DGCA decision to test aviation personnel for consumption of psychoactive substances.

Justice V Kameswar Rao issued notice on the petition by Indian Pilots’ Guild against this “Civil Aviation Requirement” (CAR) and directed the DGCA to file its counter-affidavit. “No interim relief at this stage… No one has been tested. It is all in contemplation, apprehension today,” said the judge.

The petitioner argued there were shortcomings in the testing procedure as the CAR did not address the concerns surrounding inadvertent or passive consumption through unknown sources or as part of the prescribed medicine has been completely ignored.

It submitted that no “range” to clarify acceptable consumption has been specified by the aviation regulator for the substances listed in the CAR.

“They simply say that if I find you in a screening test to be positive, you are done. Even if it comes to 0.01, I’m done and I don’t have an appellate process. Consequences are stunning and there is no test methodology,” stated senior advocate Vivek Kohli who appeared for the petitioner.   In the petition, the petitioner contended that the test is arbitrary, unconstitutional, and in violation of the principles of natural justice.

On being asked by the court, the senior lawyer said that till now, none of the members of the petitioner organisation has been subjected to this CAR which came into force on January 31.

DGCA counsel Anjana Gosain opposed the grant of any interim relief and contended that the CAR was introduced in line with the global standards for testing of pilots and Air Traffic controllers after consultation with the stakeholders.

She stated that complete privacy would be maintained in the testing process which is carried out by a NABL approved laboratory and if a person tests positive, the matter would be reviewed by the medical in charge of the concerned airline in consultation with the medical review officer to determine if the result was due to a legitimate therapeutic treatment or some other innocuous source.

07/02/22 PTI/Print

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