Air India urination case victim moves Supreme Court; seeks guidelines/SOPs to deal with such incidents : The Tribune India

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Air India urination case victim moves Supreme Court; seeks guidelines/SOPs to deal with such incidents

States that Air India and the DGCA failed to treat her with care and responsibility after the incident

Air India urination case victim moves Supreme Court; seeks guidelines/SOPs to deal with such incidents

Shankar Mishra had allegedly urinated on the woman in an intoxicated condition in the business class of the Air India New York-Delhi flight on November 26 last year. iStock



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 20

The Air India urination case victim has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and airlines to frame Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to deal with such incidents.

The 72-year-old woman, whose ordeal on an Air India flight in November made headlines, said she was constrained to file a petition as Air India and the DGCA failed to treat her with care and responsibility after the incident.

Shankar Mishra – who allegedly urinated on the woman in an intoxicated condition in the business class of the Air India New York-Delhi flight on November 26 last year – was arrested from Bengaluru on January 6 and sent to judicial custody by a court here on January 7. A Delhi court granted bail to Mishra on January 31.

The petitioner said, “In addition, the wide-ranging national press reportage full of conjecture and surmises has severely undermined the petitioner’s rights as a victim under Article 21 of the Constitution, and in fairness has also affected the rights of the accused as well.

“Their rights to a free and fair trial have also been substantially affected due to a selective leaking of the ‘AIR SEWA’ complaint of the petitioner, the FIR and selective witness statements being released to the media to match specific narratives,” she said in her plea.

The petition said an absence of clear guidelines for media outlets on what requires reporting, whether they ought to make conjectures where matters are sub-judice, and the impact of media coverage based on unverified statements end up impacting the victim as well as the accused.

The petitioner further said her intentions were inspired and motivated in the interest of the general public and are a sincere attempt to set up a framework within the airline industry so that such incidents are prevented, and if they do occur, they are dealt with in a manner that does not cause additional trauma to the passengers.

She wanted the top court to direct the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and the DGCA to ensure that Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) norms adhere to the highest standards laid down internationally. She sought directions to the DGCA and the airline companies to comply with the legal requirements of the SOPs, operation manuals and reporting protocols to be followed by airline crew and staff.

Referring to the incident, she said, it “caused the petitioner to go into shock and distress during this 12-hour long flight and the crew was both unhelpful and uncooperative”.

The plea said that the suffering of the woman was significantly compounded as the crew coerced her to enter a “settlement” with the passenger who urinated on her. “She continues to deal with the trauma of the incident,” the plea said.

She alleged that during the incident and after it, there have been multiple violations by Air India including the cabin crew as they facilitated the handing over of her phone number to the passenger who had urinated on her in order to reimburse the cost of shoes, dry-cleaning, etc.

It said that the cabin crew initially asked the petitioner to sit on the very same seat that was wet and smelled of urine and they did not offer her alternative accommodation for over two hours, even though there were seats available on the aircraft.

“The petitioner was told that the pilot in-command had not sanctioned the use of a fresh seat for the petitioner as the pilot was sleeping”, the plea said.

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