Wear masks properly or get off plane: Delhi HC

Violations prompt High Court judge to issue guidelines

Flight passengers who exhibit stubborn reluctance to wear their masks properly, could now get offloaded immediately or be placed in the “no-fly” list, as per a fresh guidelines issued by the Delhi High Court.

“It is made clear that masks should be worn as directed by governmental instructions, covering the nose and mouth, and not worn merely covering the mouth or below the chin,” Justice C. Hari Shankar ordered.

Alarming situation

Justice Shankar said he was constrained to pass the order because of an alarming situation, which he witnessed during the Air India flight from Kolkata to New Delhi on March 5, 2021.

“It was noticed that, though all the passengers had worn masks, many passengers had worn the masks below their chin and were exhibiting a stubborn reluctance to wear their masks properly,” the judge said.

He said that this behaviour was seen not only in the bus transporting the passengers from the airport to the flight, but also within the flight itself. It was only on repeated entreaties made by Justice Shankar himself to the offending passengers that they condescended to wear their masks properly.

When the cabin crew was questioned in this regard, they said they had directed all the passengers to wear masks, but were helpless when they did not comply. “To the perception of the court, such a situation, in the present scenario, when the country is seeing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, after they had shown signs of ebbing, is completely unconscionable,” the court said.

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