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Green Signal to fly for Air India :Supreme Court

          Green signal given by supreme court of India  on monday for national airways “Air India” on international flight service with middle seat booked.  Middle seats in international flights of Air India weren’t kept vacant , and the high court of Bombay questioned this. On hearing the petition filed by center and Air India the hon’ble Supreme Court gave the permission. Honourable Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde said that “Air India shall be allowed to operate non scheduled foreign flights with middle seat booking for next ten days”.

         The Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Air india were asked to respond to the Bombay high court on the petition of a pilot. The Government of India on March 23, 2020 issued a circular regarding some conditions to prevent the spreading of coronavirus while bringing back indians trapped due to coronavirus abroad. Pilot Devan Kanani in his plea mentioned this circular.  In his plea filed,he said that Air India didn’t keep the middle seat between two passengers empty, which was a violation of the government circular. Devani had photographs in which it was clear that the flight from San Francisco to Mumbai was fully loaded without leaving the middle seats empty. Abhinav chandrachud who was the counsel for Air India opposed the plea by quoting that the circular of march 23 is already overwritten with the newly issued circular of march 25, 2020 in which the government gave the permission to domestic flights to allow booking for all seats regardless the middle seats.He said all precautions required to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are taken while bringing back passengers to India from abroad.The new circular issued by the government giving permission for booking of all seats was only for the domestic flights and not for the international flights. This was noted by Honourable Justice RD Dhanuka and Abhay Ahuja on friday. As a result the bench ordered Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Air India to file affidavits clearing their stands. The petition is posted for hearing on june 2.

     The Bombay high court pointed out that the life of Indians who are stranded abroad are equally important, so the guidelines are to be strictly maintained inorder to bring them back safely.

    The Supreme Court allows the booking of all seats in air india with strict health measures like masks and sanitizers to be double checked in the airports and on flights.

      Air India is the first airways to restart its services after the national lockdown.

by Ayisha Riswana