Delhi HC dismisses plea challenging use of chartered flights to repatriate foreigners

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The petitioner, in his plea, wanted the government to lodge the crew of such flights in hotels, instead of home-quarantining them.

File photo of special Air India flight

File photo of special Air India flight (Photo Credits: PTI)

The Delhi High Court has declined to interfere with the Centre and Air India’s decision to operate chartered flights to repatriate foreign nationals to their respective countries during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A bench of justices JR Midha and Jyoti Singh was of the view that the Centre and the national carrier have taken measures such as issuing protection kits to the pilots and crew of the flights to protect them from the novel coronavirus.

The court also noted that the government has issued guidelines with regard to screening and testing of the pilots and cabin crew when they return to India and the measures to be taken during their home quarantine.

“Covid-19 is an unprecedented pandemic and calamity of enormous magnitude and the government is taking all necessary steps to ensure protection of its airline crew, as assured by the Additional Solicitor General, and would continue to do so…,” the bench said.

It also took note of the work being done by the airline crew and said they should be applauded for serving humanity at this hour of crisis.

The observations by the bench came while dismissing a plea challenging the government and Air India’s decision to operate chartered flights to repatriate foreign nationals.

The court, however, said petitioner Vaibhav Sharma is free to give his suggestions to the government.

The petitioner, in his plea, wanted the government to lodge the crew of such flights in hotels, instead of home-quarantining them.

The bench said it agrees with the government that at this stage, it is not possible to lodge the airline crew in hotels due to logistic issues and that home quarantine is the best possible measure currently.

The petition, filed through advocate H S Nanda, had also claimed that the pilots and cabin crew of these chartered flights were not being provided with personal protection equipment.

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About the author: Sohom Das
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