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India Considers National No-Fly List for Unruly Passengers

© AP Photo / Kevin FrayerAir India planes are parked on the tarmac at the Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, Friday, May 18, 2012
Air India planes are parked on the tarmac at the Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, India, Friday, May 18, 2012 - Sputnik International
Following an incident where an Indian MP was accused of attacking a flight attendant with a shoe, Mumbai is considering a bill that would institute a national no-fly-list for those who can’t comport themselves on a plane.

The draft proposal reads that unruly behavior in the air could invite a grounding of between three months and two years, depending on the severity of the rowdiness. In that period, the passenger will be prohibited from booking flights or buying tickets.

There would be three levels of severity, according to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju. Level one would be disruptive behaviour like rude gestures and language, level two would be physically abusive behavior, and level three would be life-threatening behavior. The proposal also allows individual carriers to sell tickets to passengers who have been blacklisted at their own discretion.

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In addition, there would be a system of fines for behavior that causes a flight to be delayed, from 500,000 rupees ($7,774) for a delay under an hour to 1.5 million rupees ($23,323) for delays over two hours. 

Ravindra Gaikwad, a MP from Maharashtra state and member of the controversial far-right Shiv Sena party, was accused of attacking an Air India worker in late March. Gaikwad allegedly beat the man with his shoe 25 times and attempted to bodily throw him from the plane. Air India replied by banning Gaikwad from the air, but they lifted the ban after a request from Raju.

Gaikwad refused to apologize. "The Air India [staffer] had started the conflict," he told ANI. "It was his fault, why would I apologize? I will apologize to the Parliament if my action damaged its dignity. It was just a small conflict. The [staffer] is mad and around eight such cases of indulging into brawl have been registered against him."

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In response to the no-fly-list draft, Gaikwad called it a "welcome move" but also told India Today that he thought that "there should be stricter guidelines for the airline staff as wel l… sometimes even passengers have to suffer due to the behaviour of airline staff, that also should have some strict guidelines."

"There is a need for such guidelines. There should be strictness in such matters. If someone does wrong then there should be punishment. Things are still not final, a committee will be constituted for this, I want that MPs should also be part of the committee. The government is looking into what punishment needs to be given to passengers, but what services should the staff give must also be looked into," he said. 

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