Kunal Kamra at his residence in Dadar, Mumbai. (Express Photo: Janak Rathod)
The Delhi High Court Tuesday pulled up the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for asking airline companies to impose a flying ban on comedian Kunal Kamra pending inquiry. While hearing a petition filed by the comedian, the High Court also said the aviation regulator should have looked into Kamra's complaint before initiating action.
Justice Navin Chawla asked the DGCA to take instructions on what steps it intends to take regarding the action by the other airlines and listed the matter for hearing on February 27.
In his petition, Kamra said he was banned by IndiGo for six months before its internal committee even arrived at a decision, while other airlines -- Air India, Spicejet and GoAir -- imposed an indefinite ban on him.
The comedian moved the high court seeking directions to DGCA to direct the airlines to revoke the ban.
Several airlines, including Air India, GoAir and SpiceJet, had placed Kamra on a no-fly list "until further notice". This was in response to an incident on board an IndiGo flight from Mumbai to Lucknow on January 28, during which Kamra allegedly harassed journalist Arnab Goswami.
IndiGo had suspended Kamra for a period of six months due to his "unacceptable behavior". In a statement, the company said: "In light of the recent incident... we wish to inform that we are suspending Mr. Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for a period of six months, as his conduct onboard was unacceptable behaviour."
Shortly after the incident, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had advised other airlines to impose similar restrictions on Kamra.
Explained | Here’s how India’s no-fly list works
Defending his action, Kamra had said he “politely asked” Goswami to have a conversation and later gave the news anchor “a monologue about what I felt about his journalism”.
“The moment the stewardess asked me to move, I went back to my seat in 20 seconds. I apologised to each crew member personally and to both the pilots, by staying back till the end, for any inconvenience that I might have caused during the flight,” Kamra said.
Earlier this month, Kamra had sent a legal notice to IndiGo demanding an unconditional apology, revocation of the ban and compensation of Rs 25 lakh. Kamra's counsel Prashant Sivarajan stated that his client has suffered “mental pain and agony” due to “illegal, arbitrary and high-handed decision” of the airline.
with inputs from PTI