HC stays DGCA order grounding GMR crew, says probe will go on1 min read . Updated: 21 Apr 2014, 11:34 PM IST
Order was being used by political leaders during election campaigning
New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday stayed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) order grounding 10 pilots and six cabin crew of GMR Aviation Ltd, which was being used by political leaders during election campaigning.
Justice Manmohan, however, refused to stay the show-cause notice issued by DGCA to the charter airline for allegedly violating the civil aviation requirement of pre-flight breath analysis of its pilots. The court also said that the probe against the pilots, cabin crew and the doctor who had conducted their pre-flight medical test will continue and directed the airline and its pilots/crew to cooperate with the investigation. It said the final report of DGCA will come into effect a week after it is passed by the authority. DGCA, on the basis of a surprise inspection of the offices of GMR Aviation on 14 April, had issued a show-cause notice the very next day asking why the airline’s licence would not be cancelled for the violation of air safety norms.
DGCA had also suspended the licences and privileges of 10 pilots and six cabin crew of the airline for three months with the final punishment of endorsing the same on their licences. According to people in DGCA familiar with the matter, its inspection team had found that several flights operated by GMR Aviation in the last month, including one on 14 April when its aircraft flew Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to Bhubaneshwar, had skipped some mandatory tests. Additional solicitor-general (ASG) Rajeeve Mehra, who appeared for DGCA, said that pre-flight breath analysis of pilots and cabin crew have not been conducted since 22 February and also rubbished GMR Aviation’s claim that its breath analyser kit was non-functional. Central government standing counsel Jattan Singh, appearing for the civil aviation ministry, said that the pilots and cabin crew have undertaken flight operations without undergoing breath analysis several times in the past one month, with some not having undergone the test 11 times. “The problem is that you (DGCA) presume them to be drunk. How can you deem them to be drunk (without a test)?" the court said.