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India’s no-fly list

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

India’s no-fly list

What to study?

For Prelims: What is it, how it works and features?

For Mains: Need for and redress?

Context: Four airlines in India — IndiGo, SpiceJet, Air India and GoAir — have banned stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from taking their flights after he allegedly heckled television news anchor Arnab Goswami on an IndiGo flight.

What are the rules for putting a flier on the no-fly list? 

Rules in this regard have been issued by the government in 2017.

They aim at preventing disruptive behaviour by air travellers and lay down guidelines for a no-fly list.

As per the rules, a complaint of unruly behaviour needs to be filed by the pilot-in-command, and this is to be probed by an internal committee to be set up by the airline.

During the period of pendency of the inquiry, the rules empower the concerned airline to impose a ban on the passenger.

The committee is to decide the matter within 30 days, and also specify the ban duration.

What is an unruly behaviour?

The rules define three categories of unruly behaviour:

  1. Level 1 refers to behaviour that is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment up to three months.
  2. Level 2 indicates physical unruliness and can lead to the passenger being debarred from flying for up to six months.
  3. Level 3 indicates life-threatening behaviour for which the debarment would be for a minimum of two years.

Need for a no-fly list:

Even one unruly passenger can jeopardise safety on board. Therefore, Unruly behaviour on board aircraft has been declared an offence and is a punishable act.

How does someone end up on the list?

The DGCA has given an indicative list of actions that may be construed as unruly. These include: consuming alcohol or drugs resulting in unruly behaviour; smoking in an aircraft; using threatening or abusive language towards a member of the crew or other passengers; intentionally interfering with the performance of the duties of a crew member etc.

What is the structure of the internal committee?

The internal committee is to consist of a retired district and sessions judge as Chairman, along with a representative from a different scheduled airline and a representative from a passengers association or consumer association as members.

The decision of the committee shall be binding on the airline concerned. In case the committee fails to take a decision in 30 days, the passenger will be free to fly.

Is there redress for someone declared guilty by the internal committee? 

Any aggrieved person, upon receipt of communication of a ban from the airline, may appeal within 60 days from the date of issue of the order, to an Appellate Committee.

This committee is constituted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

It consists of a retired judge of a High Court as Chairman; a representative from a passengers’ association or a consumer association; and an airlines representative not below the rank of vice-president or equivalent.

The decision of the appellate committee shall be final and that any further appeal shall lie in a High Court.

Sources: Indian Express.