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SC allows occupation of middle seat in flights till 6th June: Entertains SLP against interim order in peculiar facts

The SC on May 25, 2020 {UNION OF INDIA & ANR vs DEVEN YOGESH KANANI & ORS} held that it would normally be not inclined to interfere with the interim orders made by the courts below, however in present SLP doing so, on the submissions that immense difficulty that has arisen because of the passengers who are stranded on foreign soil at the airports after they were issued valid tickets for travel, as in some cases, the travel plan of families who were travelling together has been disrupted because those in the families who had middle seats have to be off loaded and remain behind. The Court entertained the petition on the submissions of the Solicitor General against the interim order.

It was held by the SC Bench, comprising of Chief Justice S.A. BOBDE, Justice A.S. BOPANNA & Justice HRISHIKESH ROY, that the petitioner - Air India should be allowed to operate the non-scheduled flights with the middle seats booking upto 6th June, 2020. However, it was held that after that the Air India will operate non-scheduled flights in accordance with the interim order to be passed by the Bombay High Court thereafter. 

The SC made it clear, while disposing of the petition - arising out of interim order dated 22.05.2020 passed by Bombay HC, that the Director General of Civil Aviation is free to alter any norms he may consider necessary during the pendency of the matter in the interest of public health and safety of the passengers rather than of commercial considerations.

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