Delhi HC to DGCA: Strict action against passengers for not wearing masks, maintaining hygiene norms
According to the high court, all such individuals who are discovered to be breaching these standards should be prosecuted, punished, and placed on the no-fly list, and it is critical to create appropriate disincentive to compel compliance with norms.
The Delhi High Court on Friday ordered harsh action against anyone found breaking masking and hand hygiene regulations at airports and on planes, stating that the COVID-19 epidemic has not subsided and is still rearing its ugly head. According to the high court, all such individuals who are discovered to be breaching these standards should be prosecuted, punished, and placed on the no-fly list, and it is critical to create appropriate disincentive to compel compliance with norms.
The high court stated that all such individuals who are discovered to be breaking these standards should be prosecuted, punished, and placed on the no-fly list, and that it is critical to impose appropriate disincentive to compel compliance with norms. It is observed that standards are frequently not implemented on the ground with the seriousness with which they are framed, and so it is critical for authorities, particularly the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to guarantee that implementation on the ground is effectively achieved.
The court took note of the statement of DGCA's attorney Anjana Gosain, who herself is infected with Covid-19 and appeared through video conference, that the Ministry of Civil Aviation issued another directive on May 10 requiring strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol. She stated that the authorities are seriously establishing masking standards at airports and on flights by all parties involved.
The issue of said order, in our opinion, is the correct measure because the epidemic has not subsided and continues to rear its ugly head, the bench stated, adding that guidelines are always in existence.The ruling was issued in response to a PIL filed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court while on a domestic trip during the epidemic.
Earlier, during the hearing, the court stated that while passengers are not required to wear N-95 masks on flights, they must wear at least a surgical mask to lessen the risk of getting the virus. The bench also stated that doctors wear surgical masks throughout the day, and that passengers can remove the mask only during meals, and that after they finish their meals, they must put it back on.
The DGCA had previously notified the court that they were taking action against passengers who did not properly wear masks despite repeated warnings, adding that they would be de-boarded before departure and regarded as 'unruly passengers.' It also stated in its circular that passengers must wear masks and follow social distancing rules at all times when flying. It had said that the mask should not be lowered below the nose unless in extraordinary situations.
The high court had previously taken strong note of a 'alarming scenario' in which passengers were not properly wearing masks on flights and issued guidelines to all domestic airlines and the DGCA for strict compliance, including criminal penalties for violators and frequent aircraft checks.
If a passenger refuses to follow the protocol despite being reminded, action should be taken against him or her 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.
(With PTI inputs)