Will look into Kunal Kamra’s representation against airlines: DGCA to Delhi High Court

Kunal Kamra, Kamra ban, IndiGo ban on Kunal Kamra, IndiGo, DGCA on Kumal Kamra flying ban, Indian Express

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 will look into stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra’s representation against the airlines which imposed a flying ban on him.

The DGCA’s response came against the backdrop of the High Court expressing its displeasure on February 25 while hearing Kamra’s plea against the flying ban. The court had pulled up DGCA for asking airline companies to impose the flying ban on Kamra pending inquiry.

After the DGCA counsel made the statement before Justice Navin Chawla, he disposed of Kamra’s plea and asked it to take a decision on his representation within eight weeks. Meanwhile, the committee set up by IndiGo informed Justice Chawla that it has approved a flying ban on Kamra for only three months, instead of the six months imposed initially.

Read | IndiGo panel halves Kunal Kamra flying ban: why, under what circumstances

Hearing this, the court gave the comedian liberty to challenge the committee’s decision and the indefinite ban imposed by the other airlines — Air India, Spicejet and GoAir. IndiGo had imposed the ban on Kamra for a period of six months on the grounds of “unacceptable behaviour”.

While hearing a petition filed by the comedian, Justice Chawla had said the aviation regulator ought not to have “certified” action of the airlines, other than IndiGo, which imposed an indefinite flying ban on Kamra without an inquiry. “Why did you (DGCA) give a 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,” it had said.

The court had observed that once Kamra moved a complaint before DGCA claiming violation of CAR by the airlines, the regulator cannot say it will not look into it. The stand-up comedian moved the court seeking directions to DGCA to direct the airlines to revoke the ban on the ground that it cannot be done without a complaint as required under the CAR.

The airlines put Kamra on a no-fly list “until further notice” after the stand-up comedian allegedly harassed journalist Arnab Goswami on board an IndiGo flight from Mumbai to Lucknow on January 28. Shortly after the incident, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri advised airlines to put restrictions on Kamra.