Delhi High Court dismisses application to restrict SpiceJet's operation amidst rising aviation incidents

The Delhi High Court responds to the public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the SpiceJet airline - affirms that the PIL cannot restrict the airline's operations.

Delhi High Court dismisses application to restrict SpiceJet's operation amidst rising aviation incidents

The Delhi High Court has announced its decision on the public interest litigation (PIL) filed to restrict the operation of the SpiceJet airline for operating its aircraft by breaching the safety and professional obligations. The court affirmed that it cannot bar the airline’s operation based on the PIL and press reports. The decision came from the bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma. The bench further added that the law provides a "robust mechanism" to  the aviation industry. Also, the court recorded the stand of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which has already taken the action and has issued a show cause notice to the airline..

In the recent past, the petitioner alleged, there have been instances concerning the "landing" of SpiceJet aircraft, its aircraft taking off without passengers' baggage, and employees not being paid. The petitioner contended that there have been "regular breaches" in service and there are even cases registered against the SpiceJet promoter.

The court said the "DGCA is very much working" and there is no reason to grant the relief sought by the petitioner. "The court cannot stop a particular airline to operate in the country based on averments in a PIL and press clippings," it said.

The court noted that the Aircraft Act provides for general flying and safety conditions as well as the airworthiness of an aircraft and the DGCA is the competent authority to look into the incidents alleged by the petitioner. As the petitioner's lawyer urged the court to grant the ad-interim relief of stopping the operation of SpiceJet, the court remarked, "So we start running the airline also?".

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"That is not our domain. There is an expert body -- DGCA... Relief can be claimed only under the legal framework," the court said. The court also noted the DGCA's stand that whenever any incident, such as those alleged by the petitioner, is pointed out, action is taken with promptitude.

DGCA will proceed in the present case as well, it added. During the hearing, the court also observed that statistically, the percentage of road accidents was higher than in the aviation sector and every aircraft is checked before it takes off.

In the petition, the petitioner sought direction to the authorities to constitute a special commission of an aviation expert to look into the concerns raised by it and stop the operation of SpiceJet in the meantime.

The petition stated that the right to life includes the right to a safe environment for flight passengers.

With agency inputs

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