A legal notice was sent to Indigo Airlines on 31st January by comedian Kunal Kamra. The notice is sent seeking revocation of the 6 months ban imposed on Mr. Kamra by the airlines following a recent incident with Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami. Mr. Kamra in the notice has also sought compensation of Rs. 25,00,000 from the airlines for “mental pain and agony” suffered by him, and also actions against the airlines for the contravention of the Aircraft Rules, 1937.
The Ban Imposed
The ban was imposed after the comedian posted a video in Twitter where his is found confronting with Arnab Goawami, with whom he shared an Indigo flight to Lucknow on 28th of January. In view of the incident, Kamra was banned from flying in an Indigo flight for 6 months; the same was informed to him via a tweet from the Indigo’s handle. Subsequently, four other airlines have also banned Kamra from flying.
- In the notice Kamra stated that there was no intervention from any of the cabin crew for the unruly and disruptive behavior of Kamra.
- He was notified of the said ban via Twitter which is not a proper medium for official communication.
- Kamra doesn’t qualify as an “unruly passenger” as per the definition given in the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR).
- Even if guilty, Kamra’s conduct would at most be a level 1 offence which means a maximum of 3 months ban can be imposed.
Comedians Legal Notice
The legal notice of Kunal Kamra was filed through Advocate Prashant Sivarajan of Lawmen and White Advocates and solicitors. In the notice it is stated that Kamra approached Arnab Goswami initially for a conversation on the flight when the seatbelt lights were still off. Once the seatbelts lights turned on Kamra returned to his seat. He came back to Arnab Goswami only after the flight took off. When he went to Arnab for the second time, Arnab told him that he doesn’t want to indulge in any conversation as he was watching something. It was after this point that Kamra went on to record a video of himself aggressively questioning the journalist. It is also mentioned in the notice that, once the stewardess requested him to return back to his seat, he did so at once.
It is also mentioned in the notice that, at point when the incident was going, there was any intervention from the cabin crew for unruly or disruptive behavior on his part. Kamra also mentioned in the notice that, after the flight landed he apologized to each crew member and both the pilots for any inconvenience which may have been caused by him unintentionally. In view of the above facts, it is mentioned in the notice that the 6 months ban imposed on him was “arbitrary”, “illegal”, “unjustified” and non-est in law.
The notice also mentioned that the airline did not follow the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) while banning Kamra for a period of 6 months. This is said so given the fact that Kamra was notified of the ban via Twitter which is not a medium for official communication. Further, the notice also states that Kamra doesn’t qualify as an “unruly passenger” according to the definition given in the CAR. Further, according to the CAR whether a passenger is “unruly” or not is determined by an internal committee constituted under Para 6.1 of the CAR. Without such findings no proceedings can be initiated against any passenger. It goes on to state that no such committee has been constituted yet in this case.
Under Para 4.10 of the CAR three levels of unruly behavior are given:
Level 1 – Disruptive behavior
Level 2 – Physically abusive behavior
Level 3 – Life- threatening behavior
Going by this, even if Kamra is found guilty, his conduct will fall under level 1 behavior which calls for only 3 months of ban. Another aspect brought out in the notice is that airlines are mandated to comply with the CAR rules and failure to do so invites penalty under Section 13 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937. The punishment prescribed under the said rule is imprisonment for a term of maximum 6 months or fine up to Rs. 2 lakh or both.
On view of the above the notice has urged the airlines to undertake the following:
“1. To revoke the suspension of My Client from flying with Indigo Airlines for a period of 6 months with immediate effect.
2. To tender unconditional apology towards My Client in all leading newspapers as well as electronic media and on all of the social media platforms currently being operated by you.
3. To pay compensation towards My Client in sum of Rs. 25,00,000 on account of the “mental pain and agony” suffered by My Client as well as losses incurred on account of cancellation of his scheduled shows and programmes in India as well as abroad on account of adoption of a totally illegal, arbitrary and high handed procedure which is against the extant Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) CAR on the subject matter.
3. To take action against the errant officials responsible for imposing the instant ban in abrogation of the DGCA CARs as notified under Rule 133A entailing imposition of penalty under Section 13 of Category III of Schedule VI of the Aircraft Rules, 1937.
4. To pay a sum of Rs. 1,00,000 towards the cost of the present legal notice.”
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
- Bar and Bench, https://www.barandbench.com/news/kunal-kamra-sends-legal-notice-to-indigo-seeks-revocation-of-ban-rs-25-lakh-compensation-read-notice (last visited 2nd February 2020, 2:53 PM)