SC issues notice to Centre, Air India over plea regarding ease of travel for specially-abled passengers

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has sought a response from the central government and Air India within eight weeks over a petition seeking direction to frame appropriate policies to ensure people specially-abled individuals are able to use air transport facilities with dignity.

A petition in this regard was filed by Kaushik Kumar Majumdar with 85 per cent orthopaedic disability, who alleged that in December 2017, he was retracted from boarding an Air India flight and received flak from the staff when he denied to remove batteries from his wheelchair.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had on Friday asked the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Ministry of Civil Aviation, Air India and all the state governments and Union Territories to respond to the petition within the stipulated time.

Advocate Avneesh Arputham, who appeared on behalf of Majumdar, brought to the attention of the court that till date, no inquiry against the erring employees has been initiated by Air India or the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The petitioner sought directions to DGCA to make guidelines regarding sensitization and training programmes for the authorities, the staff of the airlines and airports with respect to the needs of the Persons with Disabilities.

The petitioner also sought direction to the government to dedicate a separate nodal body which would be responsible for hearing grievances related to persons with disabilities to ensure that they are not subjected to insults, violence, intimidation and humiliation.

The petitioner also demanded the respondents to create awareness regarding the penal provision of Section 92 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and give wide publicity to all the public buildings, railway stations, airports, schools etc who comply with it.