Limit drinks in flights to prevent sexual harassment, advises women commission

The head of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), Swati Maliwal, has written a letter to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) requesting that the current guidelines be amended to prevent sexual harassment and unruly behaviour against female passengers on flights and in airports. She has also recommended that intoxicated individuals be prohibited from boarding flights by establishing a mechanism to detect and report them.

Maliwal’s letter to the DGCA on March 15 referred to media reports of two recent cases of harassment and misconduct by passengers on Air India flights. In one instance, a man reportedly exposed himself and urinated on a 70-year-old woman during a flight from New York to New Delhi on November 26, 2022.

In the other incident, a man urinated on the seat of a female passenger during a flight from Paris to New Delhi on December 6, 2022. Both men were said to be highly intoxicated.

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The DCW has recommended that an alcohol intake limit be put in place while passengers are on board. The commission has taken suo-moto cognizance of these incidents and issued a notice to the DGCA seeking details of the action taken by them in the above-mentioned incidents along with the guidelines issued by the body to airlines for tackling such cases, the letter read.

Maliwal noted in the letter that the guidelines and advisory provided by the DGCA do not give specific instructions to airlines for properly handling, reporting, and redressing cases of sexual harassment of female passengers at airports or on flights. She also pointed out that the guidelines do not list any steps to deal with highly intoxicated passengers.

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Therefore, the DCW has drafted detailed recommendations on the amendments that should be made to the guidelines so that cases of sexual harassment and unruly behaviour are dealt with strictly on flights and in airports.

The DCW chief has requested that the DGCA incorporate the recommendations made by the women’s panel into the existing DGCA guidelines and provide an Action Taken Report within 30 days. She has also recommended stricter actions against intoxicated passengers to ensure the safety and security of all passengers on board.

(With ANI inputs)

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