Supreme Court: After multiple objections were raised to the draft guidelines on ‘Carriage by Air of Persons with Disability and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility’, the bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has asked the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to allow 30 days’ time to the petitioners to submit their objections/suggestions “even if the time limit for submission of the suggestions has come to an end.”
The Court specifically stressed on two aspects to be considered by the DGCA before bringing into force he draft guidelines that were brought to the public domain in the year 2021.
- Manually lifting differently abled persons without their consent: No differently abled person should be manually lifted without his consent as lifting of a person manually is inhumane. How, the differently abled person should be treated with dignity is left to the DGCA.
- Directing some differently abled persons to remove their prosthetic limbs/calipers as a part of the security check: In the draft guidelines circulated, it has been mentioned that scanning of prosthetic limbs/calipers though full body scanner but to what extent differently abled persons with prosthetic limbs/calipers are required to be checked for the purpose of security should be in a manner where, no such person is asked to remove prosthetic limbs/calipers to maintain human dignity while ensuring the requirement of security checks.
In 2016, the first petitioner Jeeja Ghosh, who was de-boarded from the plane of a private airline for being disabled, was awarded a sum of Rs. 10,00,000 as damages to be payable to the petitioner for the mental and physical suffering experienced by her and also unreasonable discrimination against her. The Court had said,
“Non-disabled people do not understand disabled ones.”
Read more: Jeeja Ghosh to receive Rs. 10,00,000 as damages from being de-boarded from an aircraft for being disabled
[Jeeja Ghosh v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1178, order dated 01.12.2021]
For petitioners: Colin Gosalves, Sr. Adv.
For Respondent: Aishwarya Bhati, ASG