‘Which law pre­vents an MLA from trav­el­ling by air?’

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Subhash K Jha

Ac­tor Sha­trughan Sinha (above), 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 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. Later, he ex­pressed his “re­gret”, but the Air In­dia staff is­sued a state­ment against the MP, in­sist­ing on an “un­con­di­tional apol­ogy”.

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 par­lia­men­tar­ian, who has the nick­name Shot­gun Sinha in the film in­dus­try, 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’m 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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