The Delhi HC refuses to entertain the petition filed by comedian Kunal Kamra against the flying ban imposed on him by several airlines including IndiGo and Vistara

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Delhi High Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition filed by stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra challenging the ban on flying imposed on him by the Indigo, Vistara and other airlines.

Prior Facts:

Kamra today approached the Delhi High Court on an urgent basis claiming he has now been banned by all the five major airlines of the country from flying. A bench of Justice Naveen Chawla, while refusing to pass any interim direction on the plea, raised objection on Kamra’s actions observing that such kind of behaviour cannot be accepted on a flight.

Mr Kamra, a Mumbai-based stand-up comic known for his sharply critical views against the government and government-friendly media networks, was banned by IndiGo, Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir after he posted a video of his encounter with Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of Republic TV. In the video, he is seen throwing questions at Mr Goswami, who doesn’t respond.

Kamra was suspended from flying with various airlines for heckling journalist Arnab Goswami during a flight and making a video of the incident. In January, Air India, SpiceJet, and GoAir declared a ban on the comedian after IndiGo barred him from flying for six months.

Key Features:

  • As the court did not show any interest in hearing the matter, Kamra’s lawyers sought liberty to withdraw his plea.
  • Following the ban, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri had advised airlines to not entertain such behaviour.
  • Puri said that, “Offensive behaviour designed to provoke & create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable & endangers safety of air travellers”.
  • Before the High Court, it was argued on behalf of Kamra today that in terms of the Civil Aviation Rules, the cabin crew has to first give one a warning, followed by a written warning and then a red-card notice.
  • After Puri’s intervention, other airlines including Air India, Go Air and Spicejet also banned Kamra from flying.
  • The lawyer said that he will approach the appellate authority regarding the issue.
  • It was asserted that while Kamra may have appeared as an “unruly passenger”, the account of events did not demonstrate “unruly behaviour” in terms of the law.
  • The airline ban triggered criticism from social media users who recalled how reporters working for Mr Goswami have frequently heckled opposition leaders in public places and on flights.
  • Kamra stated that he followed the instruction of the cabin crew as well as the pilot at all times and returned to his seat as soon as he was asked to do so.
  • The court also declined Kamra’s oral plea for an interim direction permitting him to fly on any of the airlines.
  • The court said it was not going to entertain the matter as multiple causes of action had been raised in the matter.

Judgement:

The Delhi High Court while rejecting the plea observed that, “This kind of behaviour certainly cannot be permitted”. The petition was subsequently withdrawn to allow Kamra to move the appropriate Appellate Authority for redressal of his grievance.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

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Vaibhav Goyal is a 3rd year BA.LLB (H) student of UILS, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He also basically belongs to the “City Beautiful-Chandigarh”. He had interned and have work experience at various Central and State Government bodies of India including the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi; the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; U.T. Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, etc. His research projects includes the study on the Right to Emergency Services (PSHRC), Resettlement of Migrant People (NHRC), Implications of RTI in Financial Institutions (CIC), etc. His publications involve articles in different fields of law like administrative, jurisprudence, etc. on online journals including the Juscholars Blog, Burnished Law Journal, etc. His research paper on Prison Reform was published in the Panjab University Journal and his paper was selected in category of best abstract on the topic of Naxalism: A State of Lawlessness and Arbitrariness. He had scored well in various competitions of law consisting of Quiz, Essay Writing, Lecture, Declamation, etc. He had also participated in various conferences including the World Law Forum Conference on Strategic Lawsuits on Public Participation held in New Delhi on Oct 20, 2018 and the National Law Conclave 2020 held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Jan 11, 2020.