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Bailout for pilots in mid- air molestation.

AROUND six years after 106 fliers were jolted out of their sleep by a scuffle between two Air India pilots and an air hostess, the Supreme Court has discharged the accused in the molestation case.

The court also quashed the FIRs and criminal proceedings against the duo.

The pilot of the Sharjah- Delhi IC- 884 flight, Commander Ranbeer Arora, and co- pilot Captain Aditya Chopra, who were derostered by Air India after the incident, got the court relief after they arrived at an out- of- court settlement with Komal Singh after paying her a hefty compensation.

The trial in the case registered at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on April 3, 2009, is pending before a Dwarka district court. The charges are yet to be framed in the case.

The incident, which is popularly known as the " mid- air molestation case", took place around 4.30 am on April 3, 2009, when the flight was over Karachi. It was widely reported by Indian and Bailout

international media.

" Both the high court and the Supreme Court had asked why the proceedings should go on and why can't the parties settle it. Therefore, my client Aditya Chopra arrived at a compromise to buy peace after paying an amount as charity. More importantly, he has not admitted to any of the allegation," Chopra's lawyer Manjit Singh Ahluwalia told M AIL T ODAY . FLIGHT SAFETY " Why do you people fight midair? You are the young blood and both, air- hostess and the pilot, have to fly together. If you fight, who will look after the safety of the passengers?" Justice FMI Kalifullah had asked the parties during a hearing in December, last year.

The settlement came easy as the National Commission for Women ( NCW), the Air India's internal disciplinary committee and its sexual harassment committee set- up under the Vishaka guidelines, ruled out sexual assault but noted the air hostess was indeed pushed during the altercation.

Maintaining that they had been " falsely implicated", the two pilots said they had only asked the air hostess to go out after she entered the cockpit with a steward without their permission.

They claimed they had only objected to the air hostess jeopardising flight safety by creating a ruckus in the cockpit of an airborne plane.

According to the FIR lodged by police under Sections 323 ( voluntarily causing hurt), 354 ( assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 34 ( common intention) of the Indian Penal Code ( IPC), " the flight commander and co- pilot behaved indecently with the complainant ( air hostess) and pushed her out of the cockpit". Singh also claimed that she went into the cockpit where she was asked by the pilots to sit. When she refused, the air hostess claimed that the pilots made some lewd remarks.

Duo arrived at an out- of- court settlement with the airhostess and agreed to pay a hefty compensation mid- air molestation

DRAMA IN COCKPIT molestation

; The Delhi Police had booked the two pilots under several sections of the IPC, including Section 354 ( assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) ; The air- hostess had claimed that she went inside the cockpit, where she was asked by the pilots to sit. When she refused, the pilots allegedly made some lewd remarks against her and pushed her out ; Maintaining that they had been " falsely implicated", the two pilots said they had only asked the air hostess to go out after she entered the cockpit with a steward without their permission ; The incident took place around 4.30am on April 3, 2009, when the Sharjah- Delhi IC- 884 flight was over Karachi in Pakistan ; The case has now been settled out of court

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Apr 15, 2015
Words:641
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