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SC Sets Up Expert Panel To Examine Impact Of Use Of Disinfectants In Flights On Passengers

Nilashish Chaudhary
1 Dec 2019 7:30 AM GMT
SC Sets Up Expert Panel To Examine Impact Of Use Of Disinfectants In Flights On Passengers
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The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to constitute a 6-member committee in order to look into the effects of disinfectants sprayed inside airplanes to ward off vector-borne diseases.A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy stated that:"The issue of disinfecting of aircraft involves, on the one hand, concerns relating...

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The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to constitute a 6-member committee in order to look into the effects of disinfectants sprayed inside airplanes to ward off vector-borne diseases.

A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy stated that:

"The issue of disinfecting of aircraft involves, on the one hand, concerns relating to the need to take steps for preventing the transmission of vector-borne diseases. On the other hand, it involves issues pertaining to the health of passengers and crew who may be exposed to insecticides. Hence, we are of the view that the entire matter should be directed to be considered by the above Committee."

Presently, a complete ban has been imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the spraying of disinfectants inside a plane while the passengers are on-board. An appeal was moved by IndiGo Airlines, challenging the orders of the NGT as well as the consequent directions given to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

The bench agreed with ASG ANS Nadkarni with the need for a panel comprising of experts and academicians such as Prof. A.P. Dash, Dr. P. Jambulingam, Dr. A.K. Singh, Dr. B. Nagpal, Dr. Asutosh Biswas, and a representative of the Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee.

The Bench directed the Committee to "enquire into all relevant aspects bearing upon the need for disinfection of the aircraft as a measure designed to control the spread of vector borne diseases." These aspects include recommendations made by WHO and the best international practices; impact of disinfection on the health and safety of passengers and crew; the modalities to be followed for disinfection; and the steps which are required to be taken to ensure the observation of adequate safeguards in order to protect the safety of the exposed passengers and crew.

The report of the committee is to be submitted within a period of two months, and all the stake holders impacted by the decisions (inclusive of representatives of airlines) are to be heard by the committee. The committee would also retain the liberty to seek a demonstration of the process of disinfection.

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