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Persons With Disabilities Should Not Be Asked to Remove Prosthetic Limbs At Airport Security Checks : Supreme Court

Srishti Ojha
2 Dec 2021 4:35 PM GMT
Persons With Disabilities Should Not Be Asked to Remove Prosthetic Limbs At Airport Security Checks : Supreme Court
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In a petition filed to ensure convenient air travel for persons with disabilities, the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday observed that differently abled persons with prosthetic limbs/calipers should not be asked to remove the prosthetics at airport security checks so as to maintain human dignity.The Court also observed that lifting a person with disability during air travel or...

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In a petition filed to ensure convenient air travel for persons with disabilities, the Supreme Court of India on Wednesday observed that differently abled persons with prosthetic limbs/calipers should not be asked to remove the prosthetics at airport security checks so as to maintain human dignity.

The Court also observed that lifting a person with disability during air travel or security checkup is inhumane, and held that the same should not be done without the person's consent.

A Bench comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V Ramasubramanian was hearing a 2012 petition filed by Jeeja Ghosh, a disability rights activist, who was forcibly de-boarded from a Spicejet flight due to her disability. In 2016, the Supreme Court had directed Spicejet to pay Rs 10 lakhs as compensation to Ghosh for violating her right to dignity. The Court had issued further directions to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) to modify its guidelines to ensure the dignity of persons with disability during air travel.

As a follow up, the Court considered the subsequent guidelines framed by the DGCA in this regard.

In February 2017, the Court had commented that the suitable amendments are required for the revised Civil Aviation Requirements(CAR) guidelines in order to effectively take care of persons with disabilities.

The Director General of Civil Aviation was directed to look into the suggestions submitted by the petitioner and to make further appropriate amendments to CAR guidelines as may be necessary after considering this court's directions and petitioners' remarks.

On July 2, 2021, the DGCA came up with a new draft guidelines "Carriage by Air of Persons with Disability and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility'.  Dr. Colin Gonsalves, the Senior Advocate representing the petitioner, raised multiple objections to the draft guidelines.

The Bench has granted liberty to the petitioners to submit their suggestions and objections to the Ministry of Civil Aviation with respect to the revised draft Civil Aviation Requirements guidelines issued for persons with disability and reduced mobility.

The Bench has granted liberty to the petitioner to submit objections, and suggestions to the draft guidelines and has expressed hope that the Ministry of Civil Aviation will consider such suggestions and objections even if the time limit for submission of the suggestions has come to an end. The Bench has asked the petitioner to file the suggestions in 30 days.

While disposing of the petition with the above direction, the bench made two crucial observations :

1. No differently abled person should be manually lifted without his consent. Lifting of a person manually is inhumane. The suggestion in this regard made by the petitioner merits consideration.

2. The security check up at airports should be done in such a manner that no disabled person is required to remove the prostethic limbs/calibers.

The draft guidelines mentioned the scanning of prosthetic limbs/calipers though full body scanner.

 

Case Title: Jeeja Ghosh vs Union of India| WP(c) 98/2012

Citation : LL 2021 SC 704

Click here to read/download the order



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