Kunal Kamra Seeks Apology,Rs 25 lakh from IndiGo for mental harassment
MUMBAI/ NEW DELHI : Popular stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra on Saturday has slapped a legal notice on IndiGo airlines, seeking an unconditional apology and compensation of Rs. 25 lakh for causing him mental harassment.
He also asked for the removal of 6-month ban placed on him by the domestic carrier who took the step after the comedian abused and heckled senior TV journalist Arnab Goswami onboard a flight.
However, on Thursday the captain of the IndiGo flight wrote to the airline’s management, saying he was not consulted before the ban was placed.
The compensation has to be paid on the basis of “mental pain and torture” that he suffered, according to the legal notice. The notice also states that action needs to be taken against “offending officials responsible for imposing the instant ban.”
The notice calls the ban “out of the law, high handed and unpredictable” and against “the principles of natural justice.”Kamra, soon after sending the legal notice through his lawyer, tweeted, “You’re love & support is helping me go legal against IndiGo6E.
Also Lawmen & White have taken this flight to court for me as a special case. To all artists out there don’t fear there are enough good people in society to always support the constitution.”
After the heckling incident, IndiGo Airline in an official statement said, “In light of the recent incident on board 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow, we wish to inform that we are suspending Mr. Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for a period of six months, as his conduct onboard was unacceptable behaviour.”
Reacting on the issue, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri termed Kamra’s behaviour offensive. “Offensive behaviour designed to provoke and create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable and endangers the safety of air travellers.
“We are left with no option but to advise other airlines to impose similar restrictions on the person concerned,” Hardeep Puri said in a tweet. After IndiGo, Air India, SpiceJet as well as Go Air, also banned Kunal from flying with their respective airlines until further notice.
Mr. Kamra has now cross-questioned how the airline proceeded to ban him without a complaint from the cabin commander. The Captain of the IndiGo flight, who flew Kunal Kamra and the Arnab Goswami, had said in a statement on Thursday that he was “disheartened” with his airline’s decision to bar the comedian for six months which was according to him not fair. Meanwhile, Kunal Kamra has also alleged that his phone number has been leaked.
Mr Kamra, a Mumbai-based stand-up comic known for his sharply critical views against the government and government-friendly media networks, was banned after he posted a video of his encounter with Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of Republic TV. In the video, he is seen throwing questions at Mr Goswami, who doesn’t respond.
Three other airlines, including national carrier Air India, rushed to follow IndiGo’s ban after Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri urged them to; the other two being SpiceJet and GoAir. Two others – Vistara and AirAsia – are said to be considering a ban as well.
However, the ban was swiftly criticised by many, who pointed out the “hypocrisy” in banning Mr Kamra while allowing high-profile passengers – like BJP MP Pragya Thakur – to escape without punishment.
The ban has also been criticised as a violation of due process in such cases, with sources in the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) saying normal procedure on receipt of a complaint was to form an internal committee, within 30 days, to probe the matter.
The decision taken by the committee can be appealed against in an appellate body of the Civil Aviation Ministry and a court. Meanwhile, only a 30-day ban can be imposed.
Mr. Kamra, soon after sending the legal notice through his lawyer, tweeted, “Lawmen & White have taken this fight to court for me as a special case. To all artistes out there don’t fear. There are enough good people in society to always support the constitution.”
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs ).