The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation should not have certified action of airlines other than private carrier IndiGo to ban comedian Kunal Kamra from flying without inquiry for heckling journalist Arnab Goswami on its Mumbai-Lucknow flight on January 28, PTI reported. The court added that the aviation body should have looked into Kamra’s complaint before initiating action.
The domestic airline had banned Kamra on January 28, after which three other airlines – Air India, SpiceJet and GoAir – also prohibited him from flying “until further notice”. The bans came about after Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri issued an advisory to all carriers to take action against Kamra.
The comedian approached the court to revoke the ban imposed by airlines. He had also sent a legal notice to IndiGo on February 1 to have the suspension revoked immediately and to tender an unconditional apology through all media platforms.
Kamra, represented by senior advocates Vivek Tankha, Gopal Sankaranarayanan and Mohit Mathur, sought action against the airlines for taking the steps in alleged violation of Civil Aviation Requirements.
Justice Navin Chawla asked the DGCA to clarify its stand in cases where the Civil Aviation Rules are alleged to be flouted by airlines and will hear the matter next on Thursday.
In his petition, Kamra pointed that Goswami did not make any complaints nor did he request the intervention of the cabin crew at any point of time during the incident, LiveLaw reported. He added that he apologised to each crew member and both pilots individually for any inconvenience that he may have caused.
“There has been a total non-compliance of the principles of natural justice in as much as my client at no point of time was never informed of the allegations against him that led up to the ban being issued, and neither has he been provided with a copy of the complaint as made by any passenger or crew member regarding the fact that his behavior on the said flight was unruly and/or disruptive,” the petition added.