Spicejet to pay Rs 10 lakh for offloading disabled: Supreme Court

Jeeja Ghosh, who was suffering from cerebral palsy, was forcibly deplaned from a Spicejet flight in 2012.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday awarded Rs 10 lakh as damages to Jeeja Ghosh of Kolkata, a disabled passenger suffering from cerebral palsy, who was off-loaded by Spicejet while she was on her way from Kolkata to Goa to attend a conference in 2012.

A bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and R.K. Agrawal, allowing Ms Ghosh’s petition, said a little care, a little sensitivity and a little positive attitude on the part of the officials of the airlines, Spicejet, would not have resulted in the trauma, pain and suffering that Jeeja Ghosh had to undergo. This has resulted in violation of her human dignity and, thus, her fundamental right, though by a private enterprise.

The bench said Ms Ghosh herself is a living example who has, notwithstanding her disability, achieved so much in life by her sheer determination to overcome her disability and become a responsible and valuable citizen of this country.

The bench held that Spicejet acted in a callous manner and, in the process, violated guidelins specified in Rules and Civil Aviation Requirements, 2008, resulting in mental and physical suffering experienced by Ms Ghosh and also unreasonable discrimination against her. The bench directed the airlines to pay Rs 10 lakh damages to her within two months.

Supreme Court: Make airports disabled friendly
The bench asked the Director General of Civil Aviation to ensure that all airports procure all assistive equipments based on the schedule of standardised equipments; to provide ‘Help Desk’ which would be fully accessible; it should receive assistance requests in advance from passengers with disability.

It said insofar as facilities to passengers with disability while on board the aircraft is concerned,, the suggestion of the Committee was that the communication of essential information concerning a flight should be in accessible formats. Likewise, flight entertainment should also be in accessible formats and the cabin crew should assist the passenger to access toilet if requested using on-board aisle chair. The bench said there is an obligation on the part of the state to take positive measures.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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