THE HEALTH OF THE PASSENGERS TO BE GIVEN PRIMACY OVER THE HEALTH OF THE AIRLINES; CJI IN AIR INDIA CASE

(By – Satyajit Pattanaik)

“Virus will not distinguish between the people travelling in the Air or otherwise.”

Considering the primacy of the health of the individual than that of the Airlines, the Hon’ble CJI S.A Bobde along with two other judges, namely; Justice S. Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy, ordered the Air India to pay due respect to the decision given by the Bombay High Court. The Bombay High court had ordered the operating aircrafts to leave the middle seats vacant in order to follow the social distancing norm, Which is considered to be the only weapon to fight with the ongoing Pandemic.    

Besides, the Bench expressed its displeasure with regard to the issuance of the tickets of the middle seats which have already been sold and also took the note of the inconvenience to be caused to the people living abroad. The bench was not at all ready to be lenient over the matter concerning the health hazard of the citizens from such a catastrophic virus. 

Expressing huge concern towards the social distancing norm and the health of the citizens, the CJI differentiated between the commercial Airlines and the Government and said both are not same disagreeing to the plea taken by the Solicitor general Tushar Mehta. 

Though, Mr. Tushar Mehta tried arguing with his potential stating that vacating middle seats makes no sense as the passengers will have to be in quarantine for a specified period of time after the completion of their journey, the CJI was not at a position to agree with any of his argument. 

The matter was brought before the apex court on 25th may, 2020 as a urgent matter challenging the order of the Bombay High Court on 22nd May 2020. (Source- https://www.livelaw.in