Kerala High Court dismisses PIL in Kozhikode Airport mishap

Kerala High Court dismisses PIL in Kozhikode Airport mishap

On Monday (16th November), a bench of the Kerala High Court comprising with Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly dismissed a PIL petition seeking a CBI probe into the aircraft mishap at the Kozhikode International Airport which took place in this August, killing 19 members. 

Dismissing the petition, the Court pointed out that an Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau had already been set up, which the petitioner had not raised specific objection to. The only reservation the petitioner had raised was in respect of one of its members. In his petition, the petitioner does not demonstrate his reasons for having such reservations about this member, the Court observed.

Further, the bench also pointed out that an investigation into the probable causes for the mishap was already ongoing by stating the judgment;

“… when there is a procedure prescribed under law and the investigation is going on, we do not think, it is right on the part of a writ court to interfere with the same and order a parallel investigation by appointing a former Judge of the Supreme Court or of any High Court.”

After the incident, Yeshwanth Shenoy had moved the High Court as Party-in-person, seeking an independent Court of Inquiry under the Aircraft (Investigation of Accidents and Incidents) Rules, 2017 to study the functioning of the airport. Additionally, he prayed for an investigation by the CBI into the aircraft tragedy itself. And further, demanded the immediate closure of the Kozhikode Airport, among other reliefs.

Observing the facts, the court held that the petitioner had not highlighted any defect or irregularity in the procedures adopted by the Board. In these circumstances, the petitioner’s petition was premature.

The petition was, therefore, dismissed.

“Taking into account all the materials and the law, we have also no hesitation to hold that the petitioner has not made out any case to order an open enquiry by appointing retired Judges as is sought for by the petitioner”, reads the order.

Case Title : Yeshwanth Shenoy v. Union of India and Ors.(WP.No. 24216/2020(S))

Coram : Chief Justice Mr.S.Manikumar & Mr. Justice Shaji P.Chaly