Mangaluru air crash: HC quashes proceedings against AI, AAI | Bengaluru News – Times of India
BENGALURU: The high court has quashed the proceedings against Air India (AI), Airports Authority of India (AAI) and two of their officers in a criminal case registered in connection with the May 22, 2010 crash of Air India Express 812 flight at Mangaluru’s Bajpe Airport in which 158 passengers lost lives.
Allowing the petitions filed by AI, AAI, Ansbert D Souza of AI and Peter Abraham of AAI, Justice Ashok G Nijagannavar has pointed out the probe report by the Court of Inquiry is with the Centre and other appropriate authorities and it is for them to take action.
The judge noted the Mangaluru trial court has failed to consider the fact that the reason for closure of the chargesheet, as the pilots—arraigned as accused—have died in the crash and also on the basis of the Court of Inquiry report. As the officers are not residing in its territorial jurisdiction, the magistrate should have inquired as per section 202 (1) of CrPC before issuing summons, he added.
Complaint by Foundation
On June 3, 2010, the Centre constituted the Court of Inquiry headed by Air Marshal BN Gokhale under the provisions of the Aircraft Rules. On October 31, 2010, a report was submitted, holding the pilot and the co-pilot responsible for the accident. Police then filed a closure report and the magistrate at Mangaluru disposed of the case as having abated. Thereafter, a complaint was lodged by 812 Foundation, represented by its secretaries Nayana Pai and Yeshwanth Shenoy in March 2012, alleging negligence and violation of safety norms. On February 19, 2013, JMFC Court in Mangaluru passed an order taking cognizance of the offences under section 304A of IPC. The trial court also held there is deemed sanction to proceed against the accused and issued summons. Both AI, AAI and the two officers challenged the order.
Senior advocates Gurudas S Kannur and Udaya Holla, who appeared for the petitioners, contended that the applications seeking prior sanction to proceed against the accused have already been rejected by the competent authorities. They argued the proceedings before the magistrate would be a futile exercise as the Court of Inquiry had already given its finding.