Kunal Kamra seeks apology, Rs 25 lakh from Indigo over flying ban

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Kunal Kamra seeks apology, Rs 25 lakh from Indigo over flying ban
Kunal Kamra seeks apology, Rs 25 lakh from Indigo over flying ban

New Delhi : A legal notice has been sent to IndiGo for a public apology and Rs 25 lakh for "causing mental pain and agony" and revocation of a six-month ban imposed on comedian Kunal Kamra for allegedly heckling Arnab Goswami on a flight, according to news agency PTI. 

Kunal Kamra's lawyer has asked the airline to "pay compensation... on account of mental pain and agony suffered by my client as well as losses incurred on account of cancellation of his scheduled shows and programmes".

Kunal Kamra, a Mumbai-based stand-up comic, was banned by four airlines for a duration of six months 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.

The four airlines - Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir – have banned him for six months. Two others - Vistara and AirAsia - are said to be considering a ban as well.

"Offensive behaviour designed to provoke & create disturbance inside an aircraft is absolutely unacceptable and endangers safety of air travellers. We are left with no option but to advise other airlines to impose similar restrictions on the person concerned," Mr Puri had tweeted.

All airlines tagged Puri in their tweets announcing their compliance.

However, the move has been massively criticized by the industry experts, including DGCA who said the manner in which ban has been imposed is not ethical. 

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.

On the other hand, the IndiGo pilot also criticized the action of his own company over the ban.

"I was disheartened to learn my airline has taken action in this case on the basis of social media posts, with no consultation whatsoever with the pilot-in-command. This is somewhat unprecedented in my nine years of flying," the letter by Captain Rahul Mateti said.

He said that Kamra's behaviour "while unsavoury, was not qualifying of a Level 1 unruly passenger" and that he did not find the events reportable in any way. "Pilots can attest to incidents which were similar and/or worse in nature that were not deemed unruly," he added.