(I) Aviation Safety :
Aviation safety in India is nothing but what is written in the books and documentation, but nothing exists in reality. The Regulator, DGCA is terminally ill. It is manned by inadequate staff and from the news paper reports, 200 of its 350 strong workforce are under investigation for seeking undue favours. Air India and Airports Authority of India are owned by the Government of India and is reeling under severe corruption. The Regulator is unable to enforce its own rules against these government entities and as a result does not wield much power with the private sector airlines. In short, Aviation Safety in India is virtually non-existent other than in documentation.
The 812 Foundation put in 30 months of intense research and digging up of documentation from the Government under the Right to Information Act, 2005. 812 Foundation filed a PIL in the Supreme Court of India in 2013, but unfortunately the Judges stated that they do not have expertise in dealing with the subject and directed the Writ Petition to be converted into a representation to the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The 812 Foundation has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its order on the grounds of violation of Principles of Natural Justice. How can a person be allowed to be a Judge in its own cause? The matter is pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India
On the 99th Birthday of the great Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer, his nephew and Aviation Safety Activist, Capt.Mohan Ranganathan wrote an article on the “Role of Indian Judiciary in Aviation Safety” in which he says “Only a strong and punitive judicial message will save lives. Else, the blood of 158 souls that departed in Mangalore on the fateful day in May 2010, will remain etched on judges’ hands”.
(ii) Accountability for the crash of IX812
The 812 collecting evidence approached the investigating officer to inform him of the new facts and findings. The Investigating Officer showed no interest and the Foundation wrote (link it to the letter to IO pdf File)(missing) to the Investigating officer on 7 February 2012 and copied it to the Commissioner of Police. On 6th March 2012, the 812 Foundation filed a private complaint against 15 accused and it took almost one year for the 812 Foundation to convince the Magistrate about the prima facie case against each of the accused and on 19th February 2013, the Magistrate took cognizance of an offence under Sec.304 A of the Indian Penal Code. Though, 812 Foundation pressed for more serious offences, 812 Foundation decided to follow the proper Judicial Process. However, Air India rushed to the High Court of Karnataka and unfortunately the High Court stayed the entire trial and that too without giving notice to 812 Foundation. The 812 Foundation strongly feels that the people of Mangalore were let down by the High Court before the accident and after the accident and has filed strong replies against the criminal petition of Air India and Airports Authority of India
The DGCA, Air India and Airports Authority of India are reeling under severe allegations of corruption of which several are under investigation by the CBI & CVC. 812 Foundation is severely hard pressed for resources, but are looking into various issues related to DGCA, AAI and Air India.
The President of 812 Foundation, Mr.Yeshwanth Shenoy recently filed a PIL in the High Court of Bombay (link it to the Mumbai PIL pdf File)(missing) seeking CBI investigation into the financial affairs of Air India. The PIL Rules of the High Court of Bombay required several procedural compliances and crucial time would have been lost. It is under those circumstances that Mr.Yeshwanth Shenoy decided to file the matter in his personal name. In the PIL, Mr.Shenoy has specifically brought the attention of the court to the violation of Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970 by Air India to facilitate a scam revolving around expat (foreign) Pilots. The release of the book, ‘the Descent of Air India’ by former employee of Air India Mr.Jitendra Bhargava points to several criminality in the dealings of Air India and this aspects are needed to be investigated particularly when even the then Minister for Civil Aviation are named in the irregularities.
When the cost of Damages (compensation) is less than the cost of prevention, what is the incentive to prevent? This is the central theme of a writ petition filed in the name of Ms.Triveni (the treasurer of 812 Foundation). The law relating to compensation is so poorly developed in India that it is impossible to prevent accidents. One of the cheapest commodities in the ever inflatory Indian market continues to be Human Life.
Another member of the Victim’s family fought in the Kerala High Court and a single Judge interpreted (link it to the 2011(3)KHC 199 pdf File)that every passenger is entitled to 100,000 SDR without any proof of damages under the Montreal Convention as adopted by the Carriage by Air Act, 1972. The President of 812 Foundation wrote an article (link it to the 2011 KHC article pdf File)(link it to: 2011 (3) KHC _Part_7 Article) appreciating the judgment of the single judge. Unfortunately, Air India appealed against the decision and a Division Bench overturned (link it to the KHC 761 pdf File) the decision of the Single Judge. The President of 812 Foundation wrote an article (link it to the AI Part II pdf File)(link to: Air India Part 2) criticizing the judgment of the Division Bench.