Kangana Ranaut flight fiasco: DGCA warns airlines against allowing photography; two-week suspension for violations
The order said if any incident of photography takes place inside any flight, that scheduled flight will be suspended and will be restored only after the airline has taken punitive action against those responsible
Aviation regulator DGCA on Saturday said a scheduled flight will be suspended for a period of two weeks if anyone is found taking photographs inside the plane.
This announcement comes a day after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked IndiGo to take "appropriate action" after it found alleged violation of safety and social distancing protocols by mediapersons in the airline's Chandigarh-Mumbai flight that had actor Kangana Ranaut as a passenger.
According to a video of the incident that took place inside Wednesday's flight, reporters and cameramen were jostling and bunching up to get a comment from Ranaut, who was sitting in one of the front rows of the plane.
The DGCA order on Saturday said, "It has been decided that from now on, in case any violation (photography) occurs on any scheduled passenger aircraft - the schedule of flight for that particular route shall be suspended for a period of two weeks from the next day (of the incident)."
The order was sent to all the domestic airlines in India.
The order stated that as per Rule 13 of the Aircraft Rules 1937, no person is allowed to take any photographs inside a flight except when permission is granted by the DGCA or the Civil Aviation Ministry.
"In spite of these regulations, it has been noted that at times, the airlines have failed to follow these stipulations primarily because of lack of diligence on their part," the order noted.
"Needless to say that such deviations result in compromise in maintaining the highest standards of safety and therefore, is not to be allowed," it mentioned.
Therefore, the order said if any incident of photography takes place inside any flight, that scheduled flight will be suspended for a period of two weeks and it will be "restored only after the airline has taken all the necessary punitive action against those responsible for the violation".
As per the DGCA rules, an airline can put an "unruly passenger" on its "no-fly list" for a certain period of time after an internal enquiry.
About the Chandigarh-Mumbai flight incident, a DGCA official had on Friday said that the prominent issues with the incident were related to "photography on board in violation of Aircraft rules 13, violation of COVID-19 protocols and certain actions falling within the purview of unruly behaviour on board".
The Shiv Sena, which heads the alliance government in the state, and Ranaut had engaged in a war of words after she likened Mumbai to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and said she feared Mumbai Police more than alleged movie mafia.
On Wednesday morning, a team of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had demolished the alterations allegedly made without the civic body's approval at Ranaut's bungalow at Pali Hill in Mumbai.
Ranaut arrived in Mumbai the same day after the demolition through the aforementioned IndiGo flight.
Why India's domestic air traffic in May 2021 is better than a year ago but poorer than April this year
In May 2021, a total of 338 passenger-related complaints were received by the scheduled domestic airlines
Bombay HC noted that Kangana Ranaut had failed to implead the Passport Authority as a party in the case, adding her application was "vague" and did not place all relevant facts on record.