Bombay High Court Seeks Clarification From Experts on the Spread of COVID-19

Bombay High Court Seeks Clarification From Experts on the Spread of COVID-19

An Air India pilot from Mumbai, Deven Kanani, filed a petition with the Bombay High Court through his legal counsel Abhilash Panickar. In the petition, it was alleged that Air India blatantly disregarded the DGCA (Director General of Civil Aviation) norms that asked the middle seat to be kept vacant during evacuation missions. 

Upon hearing the petition, a Bombay High Court bench consisting of justices SJ Kathawala and SP Tavade have sought the recommendation of experts on the spread of the virus. Particularly, the High Court wants to learn if COVID-19 can be spread through “mere touch” of an infected individual.

In the midst of this, multiple airline carriers including SpiceJet, GoAir, and Interglobe Aviation supported the DGCA’s stance on the matter. In its response to the court, the central government mentioned that a total of 248 passengers were tested positive for COVID-19 out of the 58,867 stranded citizens that flew back into the country.

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It is said that Chennai has seen 40 passengers who were tested positive after their evacuation while Mumbai and Delhi have 12 and 9 respectively. The Government of India conducted evacuation missions dubbed Vande Bharat to bring back stranded Indians from across the globe. 

While the DGCA recommended keeping the middle seat vacant, it also had a contingency plan to provide protective equipment to passengers if keeping the middle seat vacant wasn’t possible due to excessive passenger load. 

Air India has mentioned that 45 cabin crew members and 13 from the cockpit crew had tested positive for COVID-19 as of June 3. The Vande Bharat Mission has seen a total of 423 evacuation flights as of June 1, bringing back nearly 59,000 passengers. 

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