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SC permits Centre to issue directions on fumigation of aircraft in country

The Supreme Court permitted the Centre to issues directions on fumigation of aircraft in pursuance of the recommendations of a high-powered panel on the issue and keeping in mind the health and safety

Supreme Court (Photo: Wikipedia)

Supreme Court (Photo: Wikipedia)

Press Trust of India New Delhi

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday permitted the Centre to issues directions on fumigation of aircraft in pursuance of the recommendations of a high-powered panel on the issue and keeping in mind the health and safety of passengers and crew members.
A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala took note of the submissions of Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati that the Ministry of Civil Aviation has accepted the recommendations of the panel on disinsection of aircraft before taking off and landing.
"Since the matter engaged the attention of the central government which has accepted the recommendation of the high-powered committee. We now permit the Union government to issue the directions in this regard keeping in mind the health and safety of passengers and crew members of aircraft," the bench ordered while disposing of the plea filed by Interglobe Aviation Ltd.
The firm has been engaged in the work of fumigation of aircraft at airports in the country. Earlier, the National Green Tribunal had prevented the firm from carrying out the disinsection of aircraft while taking off and landing when passengers are on board.
The six-member HPC, in its report, has referred to fumigation practices used in various countries and supported the practice with some riders and advised the Centre to evolve a standard operating procedure.
According to the report submitted by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, a six-member expert committee after studying the recommendations of the World Health Organisation and the best practices followed by other countries had recommended the procedures for aircraft disinsection.
The final recommendations said residual disinsection of aircraft is a superior procedure, and "pre-embarkation treatment of cabin and cargo may be undertaken for the flights arriving in India on single-sector (non-stop flights) and that pre-departure disinsection is to be undertaken for the flights arriving in India from multi-sector flights from transit countries, which were endemic for vector-borne diseases, such as Yellow Fever etc."

"The disinsection procedure at the destination airport may be undertaken as per the regulatory requirements of that country and vector surveillance and control activities around the aircraft bay to be undertaken to keep free from mosquito breeding," the report said.
It said routine health monitoring surveillance of crew members could also include information on the adverse health effect of disinsection and the used cans of insecticidal spray for the aircraft along with the general declaration (GD) form was to be submitted on arrival in India to the authorities concerned as a proof.
The health section of the GD forms should also provide information on symptoms of adverse effects, if any, due to insecticide spray to any passenger or crew member, the report said adding, for the recommended method of disinsection, WHO guidelines were to be followed.
"India should also develop detailed standard operating procedure (SOP) for disinsection of aircraft and vector surveillance activities in and around airports, based on WHO recommendations and best practices followed by other countries," it said.
It said that the crew members and the persons involved in the fumigation may use PPE kit to avoid adverse impact of it and the passengers may be cautioned about it with the facility to raise the alarm in case of emergency.
Earlier in July 2021, the top court had directed the expert committee to enquire into all relevant aspects bearing upon the need for the disinsection of aircraft as a measure designed to control the spread of vector-borne diseases.
The panel was asked to ascertain whether spraying insecticides or fumigation to ward off mosquitoes in aircraft was harmful for passengers.
The apex court, which was hearing pleas against the National Green Tribunal's ban on spraying of disinfectants and pesticides in aircraft, had earlier said that it was not in favour of a blanket restriction and may allow it on some routes where mosquito problem was prevalent after the committee submits its report.
The ministry of health and family welfare had told the top court that spraying of disinfectants was not harmful and it was in accordance with guidelines of World Health Organisation.
The apex court had directed the expert committee to enquire into all relevant aspects bearing upon the need for disinsection of aircraft as a measure designed to control the spread of vector borne diseases.
It was stated that the airline has already received numerous complaints from flyers, some of whom have even filed cases against the company in the consumer fora.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 29 2023 | 10:56 PM IST

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