Airlines' action in consonance with regulations: DGCA on Kamra ban

Getting banned for the right to speech not shocking, says comedian

Airlines' action in consonance with regulations: DGCA on Kamra ban

Tribune Web Desk
Chandigarh, January 29

After four airlines banned stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from flying for allegedly heckling television journalist Arnab Goswami aboard a flight, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said the action taken by airlines is in complete consonance with its regulations.

SpiceJet and GoAir on Wednesday suspended stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra from flying with it after he allegedly heckled journalist Arnab Goswami aboard a Mumbai-Lucknow Indigo flight.

Kamra has also been suspended from flying with Air India and IndiGo.

“This is to reiterate that the action taken by the airlines is in complete consonance with Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) Section-3, Series M Part VI on Handling of unruly passengers,” the DCA said in a tweet.

“Now the matter is to be referred to the internal committee as prescribed in para 6.1 of the said CAR. Further, as per para 6.4 of the CAR, the internal committee is to give the final decision in 30 days by giving the reasons in writing, which shall be binding on the airline concerned. Punishment for different type of unruly behaviour is also prescribed in the same CAR and the internal committee has to adhere to the same,” it added.

Calling the ban on Kamra a ‘cowardly act’, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The ban imposed on #kunalkamra by 4 airlines is the act of a coward leveraging his influence with the Govt to silence a critic. Those who use their "news" cameras as 24x7 tools of propaganda, should show some spine when the camera is turned on them.”

Reacting to the airlines banning him, Kamra on Wednesday said he was never “unruly or disruptive”.

He also said the flying suspension was not “shocking” for him.

In a statement issued on Twitter, Kamra said at no point did he not follow the orders of the cabin crew in the (Mumbai-Lucknow) flight.

“It’s not shocking at all to me that for exercising my right to speech, which falls under Article 19 of our Constitution, 3 airlines have given me a temporary ban from flying. Fact of the matter is that at no point was I disruptive and at no point did I not follow the orders of the cabin crew or the captain,” he tweeted.

“At no point did I endanger the safety of any passenger on board, the only damage I caused was to the inflated ego to the ‘journalist’ Arnab Goswami,” he stated.

Kamra said he had not travelled with SpiceJet or Air India in this event and there is no “pattern of him being unruly”.

“This was the first time something like this has happened, so why have they jumped the gun and banned me? I’ve travelled SpiceJet and Air India in the past. There have been no complaints against me ever, only selfies and love has been shared by the crew,” he tweeted.

The comedian further said that as per his “limited knowledge” no formal complaint was made by the crew, Goswami or anyone else on board the (Mumbai-Lucknow) flight.

“Whenever there was an intervention by any member of the crew I complied. If expressing myself to an important public figure, who himself points a camera day in and day out, catching people off guard is a crime, then Both of us are criminals,” he wrote.

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday took notice of the incident and “advised” other airlines in India to impose similar restriction on Kamra, stating “offensive behaviour designed to provoke & create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable & endangers safety of air travellers”.

Kamra on Wednesday also claimed that he once again Goswami, who he said was his co-passenger on a flight from Lucknow, for an “honest discussion” but was turned away.

Kamra tweeted in the morning that “Arnab Goswami was again travelling in his flight while returning from Lucknow”.

Also read: IndiGo suspends comedian Kamra from flying for 6 months for ‘heckling’ Arnab Goswami

“I again asked him politely if he wants to have a honest discussion he with his verbal arrogant hand jester he asked me to move away & I did that (sic),” he tweeted.

In a statement released on Twitter after he posted the video on Tuesday, Kamra had said he did “exactly what Republic TV journalists do to people in their private/public spaces”.

Kamra stated he had not done anything criminal by allegedly heckling Goswami. —with PTI

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