Kunal Kamra ban: After Delhi HC rap, DGCA says will consider comedian’s plea against airlines

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In his petition, Kamra said he was banned by IndiGo for six months before its internal committee even arrived at a decision, while other airlines — Air India, Spicejet and GoAir — imposed an indefinite ban on him. (Source: Janak Rathod)

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that it would look into stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra's representation against the airlines which banned him from flying for allegedly harassing journalist Arnab Goswami onboard an IndiGo flight in January.

The DGCA's response came two days after the court said the aviation regulator should not have “certified” the action of airlines, other than IndiGo, which imposed an indefinite flying ban without an inquiry.

Justice Navin Chawla recorded DGCA's statement today and asked it to take a decision on Kamra's representation within eight weeks. With the direction, the court disposed off the comedian's plea.

On Tuesday, Justice Navin Chawla pulled up the aviation regulator for taking action pending inquiry.“Why did you (DGCA) give 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 Chawla said.

The court observed that once Kamra had moved a complaint before DGCA, claiming violation of CAR by the airlines, the regulator cannot say it will not look into it.

In his petition, Kamra said he was banned by IndiGo for six months before its internal committee even arrived at a decision, while other airlines, including Air India, Spicejet and GoAir imposed an indefinite ban on him.

Kamra moved the High Court seeking directions to DGCA to direct the airlines to revoke the ban on the ground that it cannot be imposed without a complaint, as required under CAR.

Air India, GoAir and SpiceJet had placed Kamra on a no-fly list “until further notice”, which was questioned by Justice Chawla.

The ban was in response to an incident on board an IndiGo flight from Mumbai to Lucknow on January 28, during which Kamra allegedly harassed journalist Arnab Goswami. IndiGo suspended Kamra for six months due to his “unacceptable behaviour”.

Shortly after the incident, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in a tweet, advised other airlines to impose similar restrictions on Kamra.

Earlier this month, Kamra had sent a legal notice to IndiGo, demanding an unconditional apology, revocation of the ban, and compensation of Rs 25 lakh.