It was observed that, although all the passengers were wearing masks, many wore it under their chin and insisted on wearing their masks properly
The Delhi High Court has taken strong note of the “worrying situation” of passengers who have not worn masks in flights and issued guidelines to all domestic airlines and DGCA for strict compliance, including punitive action for offenders and aircraft. Periodic checks are included.
Justice C. Hari Shankar, who noticed the unwillingness of passengers to wear masks properly during transport from the airport to the flight and their unwillingness to wear masks properly, took cognizance of the situation and issued guidelines for immediate compliance.
The High Court, in its order dated 8 March, stated that it was obliged to pass the order on 5 March due to the condition of the judge himself being seen during the Air India flight from Kolkata to New Delhi.
It was observed that, although all the passengers were wearing masks, many wore it under their chin and were stubbornly hesitant to wear their masks properly.
“This behavior was seen not only in the bus transporting passengers from the airport to the flight, but also within the flight. It was only for the frequent travelers (by me) that they were kind enough to wear their masks properly. The judge said that when the cabin crew was questioned in this regard, they said that they had directed all the passengers to wear masks, but they were helpless.
The court said that in a situation when the country is witnessing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases when they showed signs of ebbing, it is completely unconscious.
“Passengers in a flight are in a closed air-conditioned environment, and, even if one of the passengers suffers from COVID-19, the impact on other passengers can be catastrophic. It is common knowledge that a COVID-19 carrier is more than sufficient to transmit the virus, even though it is asymptomatic and only speaking, within a distance of its length.
Guidelines prepared by the court for immediate and strict compliance include that the in-flight crew will conduct periodic checks of the aircraft to ensure that passengers are following protocol, especially with regard to wearing masks.
It is clarified that as per government instructions, masks should be worn to cover the nose and mouth, and should not be worn only under the mouth or under the chin, the court said.
The court said that if any passenger is not ready to follow this protocol before taking flight, it should be dispatched without delay.
If despite refusal, he refuses to follow the protocol, action should be taken against the passenger as per the guidelines issued by DGCA or Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, including placing him on ‘no-fly’. . It has been said, either permanently or for a prescribed, sufficiently long, period.
The High Court asked the DGCA to quickly and prominently show the directions and protocols followed by passengers and in-flight crew on its website.
It also instructed the airline to ensure that written instructions on how passengers in the flight would follow protocol were provided to passengers with boarding passes, including measures that could be taken against them upon failure to comply.
“In-flight announcements, which currently, require passengers to wear masks at all times, should be amended to include cautionary wording about the punitive action taken against them in the event of default. May go.”
“To ensure compliance, the DGCA may consider sending random observers on flights without prior notice, who will check to ensure that the flight follows the COVID-19 protocol.
“Stricter enforcement of all penal provisions, which can travel to notorious passengers who refuse to follow the COVID protocol to stay in flight, must be ensured. There should not be any exemption in that regard.
The court said that the DGCA guidelines exempt wearing of masks in exceptional cases and said that it should be allowed only after evaluating the travel requirement.
It asked the authorities to make adequate publicity for these guidelines and initiate punitive action against the airlines who repeatedly fail to ensure compliance.
The court said that its purpose is not to criticize the efforts made by government officials to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic, which has left everyone in every possible way to deal with the crisis.
The court said that it is the duty of all to point fingers at the central and state governments, who have formidable tasks to deal with and what they can do is of no use.
“As members of a conscious and dutiful citizenship, each of us needs to be sensitive and sensitive in equal measure and pressurized to keep every sinner at bay. If the citizenry gets complicated, then any government, anyone who is not active and alive to the status quo, can help, ”it said.
The court said that the matter should be registered as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and listed before an appropriate bench dealing with the PIL on March 17.
It asked DGCA and Air India to file their report before the bench regarding compliance with the guidelines.