SC refuses to modify HC order on filling up plane seats

SC refuses to modify order asking HC to decide circular of filling up all seats in plane

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to modify its order allowing Air India to operate for now flight with occupancy of middle seats to bring back Indians stranded abroad. It also clarified that the Bombay High Court would take a final call on it.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Air India, submitted that a committee was examining the matter. He also maintained that the health of citizens was paramount.

The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy said it trusts the committee will take into account all relevant consideration.

"We don't want to add to the confusion after having passed an interim order. We asked them to bring back stranded Indians and they are doing it now," the bench said.

"Whatever they have done, howsoever bad it might be, let that interim arrangement continue for 10 days," the bench said, adding the matter should now finally be decided by the High Court.

A pilot, Deven Yogesh Kanani and others have moved the High Court saying the circular issued on March 23 for keeping the middle seat vacant was not being adhered to by Air India in flights operated under the Vande Bharat Mission. The government, for its part, said another circular, issued on May 22, allowed use of middle seat while keeping all precautions.

As the HC questioned the decision, the Centre and Air India moved the top court, which had May 2 allowed operation of non-scheduled flights with the middle seats booking up to June 6, 2020.

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