In the midst of the ongoing lockdown due to the pandemic of Covid-19, the Bombay High Court via video conferencing on Tuesday permitted one Binny Dholani, a Pune resident to travel by road to Assam to attend the final rites of his father who died of a heart attack on April 5.
Justice A K Menon directed Dholani to specify to the concerned authorities while seeking permission for such travel, the routes he will be taking by road on his way to Assam.
Dholani wrote a letter to the Chief Justice which was converted in a writ petition seeking permission to attend the final rites and travel from Pune to Lanka town in Assam where his father suffered a heart attack, almost 3000 kilometres away.
The petitioner contended that he was willing to take any mode of transport in order to travel to Assam. He was willing to take a cargo flight as well since movement around the country is restricted. He sought directions to concerned authorities to allow him to take a cargo flight or make any other arrangement for his travel to Assam.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh appeared for the Union of India and submitted that it is not only the case of the petitioner but there are several other persons who have passed away, some after being afflicted by Covid- 19 and some for other reasons, but in no case would passengers be permitted on flights in view of the specific directions of the Union of India and the Order issued by the Director General of Civil Aviation. Only flights specified in the Order of DGCA dated March 23, 2020 are permitted.
Furthermore, ASG contended that the petitioner's request cannot be accommodated within the permissible flights detailed in the said order and no exception can be made in his case. However, if the petitioner is desirous of travelling by road, the Union of India will permit passage by road if the petitioner so desires. He further submits that the necessary instructions will be given to the Pune Collectorate and necessary steps thereafter be taken to facilitate the petitioner's travel by road.
Court accepted ASG Singh's statement and thereafter directed the petitioner to apply for permission to appropriate authorities specified by the Union of India once he decides to travel by road and also inform the authorities about the route he intends to take to reach Lanka, Assam so that the authorities would be aware of the various entry and exit points in different states through which the petitioner would pass.
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