Fri, 03 Jun 2022 02:22 PM IST
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Taking a strong view against air passengers violating face mask and hand hygiene norms, the Delhi High Court on Friday observed that strict action should be taken against such people who do not adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.
The high court said that such persons, who are found to be violating these norms, should be booked and fined and they should be placed on the no-fly list. The court added that it is essential to introduce sufficient deterrence to enforce compliance of norms.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta said that it has noticed that very often the norms are not implemented on the ground with the seriousness with which they are framed and therefore, it is essential for the authorities, including Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to ensure that the implementation on the ground is effected properly.
"For this purpose, we are of the view that the DGCA should give separate binding directions to all airlines to authorise the staff at airports and in aircraft, including air hostesses, captains, pilots and others to take strict action against passengers and others who violate the masking and hand hygiene norms," the bench said.
"The issuance of said order, in our view, is the right step since the pandemic has not abated and keeps springing up its ugly head," the bench said, adding that guidelines are always in place and it is the practical compliance which becomes a problem and "we falter".
The court listed the matter for further hearing on July 18 and also asked for an action taken report to be placed before the court.
The court's order came in a PIL, registered on the experience of a sitting judge of the high court while travelling by a domestic flight during the pandemic.
Justice C Hari Shankar had on March 8, 2021, taken suo-motu cognisance of the situation after witnessing passengers not wearing masks properly during transportation from airport to the flight and their stubborn reluctance to wear mask properly.
The court, which had issued various guidelines to the DGCA and airlines for immediate compliance, had said it was constrained to pass the order because of an alarming situation which was witnessed by the judge himself during an Air India flight from Kolkata to New Delhi on March 5, 2021.
"People violating should be physically removed from the area if they have to be," it said.
The high court had earlier taken strong note of an "alarming situation" of passengers not properly wearing masks in flights and issued guidelines to all domestic airlines and DGCA for strict compliance.
"Passengers in a flight are in a closed air-conditioned environment, and, even if one of the passengers suffers from COVID-19, the effect on other passengers could be cataclysmic. It is a matter of common knowledge that being within arm's length distance of a COVID-19 carrier, even if he is asymptomatic and is merely speaking, is more than sufficient to transmit the virus," it had said.
If despite being reminded, he or she refuses to follow the protocol, action should be taken against the passenger in accordance with the guidelines issued by the DGCA or Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, including placing him or her on a 'no-fly' regimen, either permanently or for a stipulated, sufficiently long, period, it had said.