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COVID-19: Delhi HC suspends breath analyser tests for air traffic controllers till March 27

ANI  |  General News 

The Delhi High Court on Monday suspended breath analyser tests for air traffic controllers till March 27 in view of the possibility of COVID-19 spread.

Air Traffic Controllers' Guild (India) had approached the Delhi HC seeking direction to the DGCA and Airports Authority of India (AAI) to temporarily suspend the breath analyser test, through tube method, to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

The bench of Justice Pratibha M Singh directed the Director-General Medical Service (Air) to hold an emergency meeting by tomorrow regarding the adoption of other alternative options and slated the matter for Friday, March 27.

The court raised certain queries regarding the other method of tests like blood and urine tests etc.

The court while suspending breath analyser test also said that self-declaration should be given by the ATC and if found guilty of any violations they will have to face strict action.

Meanwhile, Advocate Anjana Gosain strongly opposed the plea it the court and stated that the breath analyser test "is a civil aviation requirement and we need to follow this principle...Now only 10 percent of tests are going on with all precautionary measures. Individual tubes are being used and it is an international practice which is used everywhere."

The petition filed in Delhi HC by Air Traffic Controller's Guild (India), represented by Advocate Khushabu Sahu and Piyush Sanghi, claimed that breath analyser test violates their fundamental right to life and health. It is also pointed out in the petition that the DGCA had earlier suspended the breath analyser test during the month of February due to coronavirus outbreak and that even the AAI has issued a circular exempting employees from biometric attendance marking due to possibility of the virus' transmission.

The petitioner also said that it has made a representation dated March 17 to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for the temporary suspension of the test, and added that the same is pending for consideration.

Breath analyser test was made mandatory as per the directions issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on September 16, 2019.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 12:26 IST
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