Airlines’ action on Kunal Kamra violates ministry rules: Know why

It seems the airline companies took Kamra’s debarment decision in a haste, without adhering to the mandated procedure. 

Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal,  representing the Narendra Modi government, last week accorded sanction for contempt of court proceedings against Kamra.

A day after his mid-air encounter with Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami, stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra is facing the brunt of airline companies. Air India, IndiGo, Go Air and SpiceJet have blacklisted him from their services.

But it seems the airline companies took Kamra’s debarment decision in a haste, without adhering to the mandated procedure.

What are the rules to blacklist an individual from the flying-list?

The Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2017 had unveiled rules to tackle on-board disruptive and unruly behaviour by passengers. The ministry had said that the new rules would allow the formation of a national, No-Fly List of such unruly passengers.


The then Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju had said, “The concept of the No-Fly List is based on the concern for safety of passengers, crew and the aircraft, and not just on security threat.”

The DGCA had revised the relevant sections of the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR Section 3, Series M, Part Vl on “Handling of Unruly Passengers ).

The revised CAR deals with unruly behavior of passenger on-board aircraft and it will be applicable for all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, both domestic and international carriage of passengers.

Also read | When Kunal met Arnab, the nation wanted to know what went wrong

The revised CAR defines three categories

First level refers to behaviour that is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment upto 3 months. Second level indicates physical unruliness and can lead passenger suspension for upto 6 months and third level indicates life-threatening behaviour where the debarment would be for a minimum of 2 years.

How to file a complaint?

In case of unruly behaviour, the complainant should reach out to the pilot-in-command and these complaints will be probed by an internal committee to be set up by the airline. The committee will have to decide the matter within 30 days, and will also have to specify the duration of ban on the unruly passenger.

The airlines will be required to share the No-Fly list, and the same will be available on DGCA website. The other airlines will not be bound by the No-Fly list of an airline.

In Kamra’s case, he was debarred for six months. But, the rules mandate a debarment of only three months for ‘verbal unruly’ behaviour. So, the action on part of the airline companies far exceeds the ‘offence.’