The Delhi High Court on Friday stressed for strict implementation of Covid-19 guidelines at airports, asking the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to take severe action including placing passengers in a ‘no-fly list’ for not wearing masks and violating hygiene norms.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta was hearing a suo motu plea pertaining to violations of social distancing norms and Covid protocols by passengers at airports.
“DGCA should issue separate binding guidelines authorising staff at airports, flights, captains, pilots, etc. to take strict action against passengers and others violating masking and hand-hygiene norms. Such persons should be booked and fined and placed in no-fly list,” the bench stated.
In the course of the hearing, the bench also said that the rules must be enforced.
“Violators should be removed physically if need be,” the bench remarked.
It also directed pilots inside the aircrafts to take strict action against those violating masking and hand hygiene norms.
Asserting that the mask, which is already a norm in flights, the bench said that it is meant to reduce Covid threat, pointing that one can take it off while eating or drinking.
Appearing on behalf of the DGCA, advocate Anjana Gosain apprised that the relaxation to remove the mask has been provided only during meals.
The counsel further said that none of the Covid guidelines were diluted and appropriate directions were issued in compliance with an earlier order.
The suo motu complaint was based on the personal experience of Justice C Harishankar, who was travelling on a Kolkata-New Delhi flight last year, when he noted his fellow passengers refused to wear masks and violated Covid appropriate behaviour even after repeated requests.