Minutes after the director-general of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Arun Kumar declared the flight bans announced against the stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra a clear violation of the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR Section 3, Series M, Part Vl on “Handling of Unruly Passengers) revised rule in 2017, the DGCA denied his statement. In an official statement, the DGCA said that the director-general was ‘misquoted and the decision taken by airlines is in complete consonance with the Civil Aviation Requirements.
On the bans imposed by four airlines on Kamra, Kumar had said that it depends on the complaint received by the crew members travelling on the flight.
Kumar told HuffPost India that as per DGCA rules, in case of any unruly behaviour restricted to verbal confrontation, the airlines should first impose a temporary ban of 30 days on the passenger and conduct an internal enquiry headed by a retired judge into the incident.
The DGCA Chief further added, “Air India has been wise enough to impose a ban for an indefinite period and is awaiting the outcome of the enquiry report conducted by the airlines. In incidents restricted to verbal confrontation, a ban should not be more than three months”.
“The airline should have waited for the internal enquiry to be completed before putting the passenger on the no-flyers list for six months,” the DGCA chief said.
The incident took place on January 28, when Kamra confronted Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami on his reporting style and political views onboard in-flight 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow. Later, he was suspended by IndiGo for six months.
Following which, several other airlines, SpiceJet, Air India and GoAir, also imposed the bans on the stand-up comedian. Air India announced the ban for an indefinite period while SpiceJet announced a six-month ban on him.
Even, Union Minister for Civil Aviation Hardip Singh Puri tweeted an ‘advisory’ to other airlines to impose similar restrictions on Kamra.
Kamra also reacted on the instant fly bans imposed on him saying that he was not shocked by the action but maintained that he only exercised his right to free speech.
In a media statement, Kamra said, “At no point was I disruptive and at no point did I not follow orders of the cabin crew or the captain. 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.”
In a series of tweets, Kunal Kamra in his signature comic style reacted on the bans. In a tweet, where he posted his statement Kunal Kamra wrote, *My statement on my flight bans*.
In another tweet, Kunal Kamra posted a video explaining his side of the story.