The Supreme Court on Monday issued a contempt notice to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for non-compliance with the implementation of safety norms and for rationalising the flyinghours for pilots.
A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and JS Khehar issued notice to DGCA on a contempt petition filed by an association of Indian pilots seeking its direction for the aviation regulating body for not bringing new Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) to minimise accidents caused by pilot fatigue.
The bench asked the DGCA to respond within three weeks but exempted him from appearing personally before it which is the normal procedure while hearing a contempt petition.
The apex court had directed the DGCA in May 2011 to expedite the process of bringing new CAR to rationalise the flying hours for pilots.
The petitioner, the Society for Welfare of Indian pilots, alleged that it is urgent to implement new regulation as many of airplane accidents are happening due to fatigue of pilots as the probe in Mangalore plane crash of 2010, in which 158 people died, suggested that the pilot was asleep during part of the flight.
Senior advocate KTS Tusli submitted that DGCA is selectively relaxing rules for a few private airlines, putting passenger safety at risk and it is not taking action against those airlines which are flouting the rules.
According to the DGCA, the new regulations were issued effective February 2012, however; it has been charged with not implementing the same on all airliners.
The new regulations dictate that airliners must account for the pilot’s duty time not only just flight time.