‘Airport fracas should have been probed by Centre’

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on June 23, 2015

Aviation analyst sees departure from norms in Kozhikode case

The recent violent clash between CISF jawans and airport staff at Kozhikode, leading to one death and vandalisation of facilities, represented the ‘gravest of all unlawful acts’ in the civil aviation sector.

But the case is sought to be investigated in violation of the laws of the land, says Jacob K Philip, a Doha-based aviation analyst. He is also honorary editor of Indian Aviation News Net.

Indian Aircraft Act requires that the Union Civil Aviation Ministry – not the State government, as in the instant case – take up such cases and initiate action.

“It never was the responsibility of the local police to do the investigation, collect evidence and make arrests,” Philip said.

‘The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Civil Aviation Act’ (which forms a part of Indian Aircraft Act) should have been invoked here and the investigation entrusted with an officer deputed specifically for the purpose by the Civil Aviation Ministry, Philip said.

Sections 3A and 4 of the Act states: 3A. Offence at airport

(1) Whoever, at any airport unlawfully and intentionally, using any device, substance or weapon,

(a) Commits an act of violence which is likely to cause grievous hurt or death of any person; or

(b) Destroys or seriously damages any aircraft or facility at an airport or disrupts any service at the airport…shall be punished with imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.

4. Destruction of, or damage to, air navigation facilities

(1) Whoever unlawfully and intentionally destroys or damages air navigation facilities or interferes with their operation…shall be punished with imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.

Acts of violence

Destroying facilities of airport: Two crash fire tenders were vandalised; the INDRA automation system pulverised, among others. The ATC tower was left deserted for a full 20 minutes.

Section 5B: Designated Courts: (1)The State Government shall, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court…..shall specify a Court of Session to be a Designated Court for such area or areas as may be specified in the notification.

(2) ….the Designated Court may also try an offence other than an offence under this Act, with which the accused may, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, be charged at the same trial.

All accused should have been tried by the special court set up for the purpose, Philip said.

Published on June 23, 2015

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