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Delhi High Court orders strict action against passengers who do not wear masks in airports and aircraft

New Delhi, June 3 (agency)

The Delhi High Court on Friday directed strict action against passengers violating rules related to wearing of masks and hand washing at airports and aircraft. Along with this, the court said that the Covid-19 Pandemic is not over yet and is raising its head continuously. The court said that not only should a case be registered against those who violate the rules related to prevention of Covid-19, but they should also be fined. The court said such people should be put on the ‘no-fly’ (prohibited flight) list. The High Court made it clear that adequate stringency is necessary to ensure compliance with the rules. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta said that since it has been observed that the rules are not followed seriously, it is necessary that other agencies including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) ensure compliance of the rules. The bench said, “For this, the DGCA should issue separate binding instructions to the airlines, so that they empower the employees, air hostesses, captains, pilots and other staff in airports and aircraft to take strict action against those passengers, Those who are found violating the rules related to wearing masks and washing hands. The court took note of the submission of DGCA’s counsel Anjana Gosain that the Ministry of Civil Aviation had issued another order on May 10, asking it to ensure strict compliance with the rules to protect against COVID-19. Gosain himself is infected with Covid-19 and attended the hearing through video conferencing. He said that the rules related to masks are being strictly implemented in airports and planes. “The said order is a step in the right direction, as the pandemic is not over yet and is raising its head from time to time,” the bench said. The court said that the guidelines are already there and they are not being followed properly, which is the real problem. The bench said that necessary steps be taken for implementation of the guidelines and fixed July 18 for further hearing of the matter.

The court passed this order on a PIL filed on the basis of the experience of a sitting judge of the High Court. He took suo motu cognizance of the situation on March 8, 2021, after Justice C Hari Shankar observed that passengers leaving the airport were not wearing masks.

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