SC asks Centre to address concerns on airports' design

SC asks Centre to address concerns on airports' design

After a brief hearing in the matter, the top court listed the matter for further hearing after two months

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian heard the matter. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to address concerns raised in a plea claiming that there was a deliberate omission for years to install Engineered Materials Arrestor System (EMAS) at airports, which prevented aircraft from overshooting runways at vulnerable airports such as Mangaluru and Kozhikode.

"This is a matter of public interest. Why don't you address it," a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian told Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati.

According to experts, airports like Mangaluru have become very dangerous to land, the bench added.

 "Please consider this PIL as a representation and give the petitioner, Rajen Mehta a patient hearing, consider his suggestions", the bench told Bhati. 

The Centre's counsel agreed to examine the bench's suggestion. After a brief hearing in the matter, the top court listed the matter for further hearing after two months.

On February 16, the top court asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Ministry of Civil Aviation to reply within two weeks on the plea.

The top court had then told Centre's counsel, "People are trapped in the aircraft, it is a horrible site. Please look into it."

In September last year, the bench had issued a notice to the ministry and DGCA on a plea by a Delhi resident Mehta, who is an 85-year-old retired engineer. 

The plea sought installation of EMAS at the airports considered vulnerable and cited the August 7 accident at Calicut International Airport and May 22, 2010, at Mangaluru. Both these airports have table-top runways. The petitioner contended if EMAS were to be installed, it could have helped in averting the plane crash.