- Apprentice Lawyer
- Legal Jobs
The Court has passed an interim order allowing airlines to follow the Civil Aviation Ministry's May 31 circular that had allowed middle-seats in flights to be occupied provided that the passenger wears wrap-around’ gowns
The Bombay High Court on Friday passed an interim order directing airlines to follow the May 31 circular of the Civil Aviation ministry that had allowed middle-seats in flights to be occupied, provided that the passenger wears ‘wrap-around’ gowns and the SOPs issued by the DGCA to guard against COVID-19 spread are strictly followed.
The order was passed following a clarification by the Expert Committee formed under the Ministry of Civil Aviation that COVID-19 could be transmitted by inadvertent touch only under certain specific circumstances.
The Committee has clarified that contact with the mouth or nose may heighten chances of COVID-19 transmission. However, an invertent touch to another part of the body or clothing by itself would not transmit the virus. The Committee's reply states,
It is also pointed out that this was the reason why it is recommended that a person disinfect his hands regularly amid the pandemic.
The five-member committee also asserted that the risk of COVID-19 transmission would be minimised if all passengers wear protective gowns and masks to curb its spread and insulate themselves from contracting the disease from an infected person.
The gown would provide a necessary shield in case of an inadvertent touch between an infected and a non-infected person, it was stated.
However, it is necessary that both persons are wearing a mask and a protective face shield to ensure this, the reply stated, adding that "lt is mandatory that the prescribed protocol for putting on the gown and removing lt is strictly followed."
In view of the same, the Bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and SP Tavade has ordered,
On Thursday, the Court had sought clarification from an Expert Committee, created to review and strengthen safe air travel protocols, as to whether the mere touch of a person carrying COVID-19 virus could transmit the virus to a person so touched.
Last month, the High Court had asked Air India to respond to a plea claiming that the airline violated DGCA guidelines requiring that a vacant flight seat should be maintained between two passengers, as a social distancing measure to guard against COVID-19.
The Expert Committee was subsequently formed under the Chairmanship of the Secretary, Civil Aviation to review these protocols in the interest of public health and safety.