Court notice to airlines, DGCA on high fares

Allahabad High Court Monday issued notices to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the management of Jet Airways, Kingfisher, Go Air, IndiGo and other private airlines for fleecing passengers by suddenly hiking air fares.

The petitioners, comprising some local activists and advocates, had sought the court’s intervention to restrain the private airlines from indiscriminately raising their fares whenever they chose to. They cited the recent case of the steep increase in air fares to Chandigarh just before the World Cup semi-final in Mohali. ‘Fares were raised even up to 800 percent, which was a blatant move to fleece passengers,’ advocate Ashok Pande said.

Taking serious note of the petition, Chief Justice F.I. Rebello issued notice not only to each of the concerned airlines but also to DGCA.

Judge’s complaint on Hepatitis-B to be heard as PIL

A complaint made by an Allahabad High Court judge against non-availability of a life saving drug in Uttar Pradesh hospitals is to be taken up for hearing as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Chief Justice F.I. Rebello Friday.

The complaint was made by Justice Sudhir Agarwal on account of the agony and disgust that he went through due to non-availability of a life-saving Hepatitis-B vaccine in any government or private hospital in Allahabad.

In his complaint to the chief justice, the judge said that he procured the vaccine for his daughter from Delhi. After getting his daughter operated for multiple fractures at the state-run Swaroop Rani Nehru Hospital here on April 9, the judge was informed the girl needed to be immunised against Hepatitis-B.

Doctors said she was exposed to the grave danger as two patients operated upon in the same operation theatre a day earlier, were affected by the Hepatitis B virus.

Subsequently, two more surgeries were carried out in the same operation theatre.

The surgeon confessed to the judge that the hospital had not cared to warn any of those four patients about the Hepatitis-B infection, nor about the dangers of exposure to the deadly virus or the need for them to get immunised against it.

Justice Agarwal got further alarmed when he discovered that the operation theatre was neither sanitised nor was the usual immunisation protocol observed before his daughter was operated upon there.

“As per the guidelines of the WHO (World Health Organisation), patients suffering from Hepatitis-B or from HIV needed to be either operated upon in complete isolation or it needs to be ensured that the operation theatre is completely sanitised before any other patient is operated upon,” the judge pointed out in his complaint to the chief justice.

The judge sought to draw the chief justice’s attention to the fact that while he managed to procure the expensive vaccine through his own resources from New Delhi, that may not be feasible for every other patient.

“I, therefore, request you to treat this letter as a PIL and to order necessary steps because other patients were not even aware of the dangers they were exposed to,” Justice Agarwal was stated to have written in his letter.