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Shatrughan Sinha: Which law prevents an MLA from travelling by air?

Actor and BJP member Shatrughan Sinha questions the Air India decision to ban Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad from flying with it. He also says that if Gaikwad is guilty, let the right agencies deal with his offence.

bollywood Updated: Apr 07, 2017 12:56 IST
Subhash K Jha
Subhash K Jha
Hindustan Times
Shatrughan Sinha,Ravindra Gaikwad,Air India
Actor Shatrughan Sinha talks about breaking the law by banning an MLA from taking flights.(Waseem Gashroo/ HT Photo)

Actor Shatrughan Sinha, BJP’s most outspoken representative, has spoken out against the national carrier Air India’s decision to ban Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad from flying with it, demanding to know which law allowed the airline to do so in order to teach an individual a lesson.

Gaikwad has allegedly behaved in an unruly manner when taking a Mumbai-Delhi Air India flight in March, assaulting a senior staff member after the flight landed in New Delhi. In later developments, he expressed his “regret”, but the Air India staff issued a statement against the MP, asking for “an unconditional apology”. The Air India’s Cabin Crew Association said: “We as cabin crew must only point out that Ravindra Gaikwad is and will continue to be a risk to flight safety, flight operations and to cabin crew safety on board, and hence [the] Government must think long and hard about letting him back on. In fact, unless he tenders an unconditional apology to AI employees, and undertakes in writing to abide by the Chicago and Tokyo Conventions & Rules of the Air and follow all cabin safety and public behaviour norms, we must not let him on board.”

Very recently, Air India cancelled Gaikwad’s ticket for a flight that he intended to take. Sinha reacted to that decision, asking, “By whose consent is this MP grounded? I believe Air India and other airlines have banned the MP’s travel. I want to know which law of this land prevents any individual from flying by any airline. Even the most hardened criminals, politicians with countless cases imposed on them, are free to travel by any airline. Why then is Mr Gaikwad being singled out for this unique punishment.And whose punishment?”

The outspoken parliamentarian, who has the film industry nickname Shotgun Sinha, wants to make it clear that he doesn’t condone the assault, but that any penalty should come from the right quarters. “If Mr Gaikwad is guilty, let the law of the land deal with him. Why are the airlines acting like a collective judiciary? I am worried about what precedence Mr Gaikwad’s flying ban can set. Tomorrow, some airlines may object to Sanjay Dutt flying, just because he has been to jail.Or they can stop me from flying.”

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First Published: Apr 07, 2017 12:52 IST