NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Wednesday took cognisance of the incident onboard an Air India New York-Delhi flight in which an inebriated male passenger allegedly peed on an elderly woman and flashed his private parts, in November last year.
The Commission sought a detailed action taken report in the matter within 7 days from the Delhi Police commissioner. In a letter to the Delhi Comissioner of Police Sanjay Arora, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma asked him to immediately register an FIR in the matter under relevant provisions of law and take strict action against the culprit for 'causing mental trauma to an elderly woman'.
"NCW has come across several media reports wherein it has been alleged that a drunken man urinated on a woman co-passenger in an Air India flight in November and left without facing any action. It has also been reported that after urinating, the man allegedly didn't move until another passenger asked him to leave. The woman had complained to the crew, however, the crew allegedly gave her a set of pyjamas and slippers and told her to return to her seat, claiming no other seat was available," the NCW said in a statement.
The Commission further said it has also written to the chairman, Air India Ltd, to intervene in the matter and take appropriate action against the culprit.
"The Commission has taken cognizance of the matter. Chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to the Commissioner of Police, Delhi to immediately register FIR in the matter under relevant provisions of law and to take strict action against the culprit for causing mental trauma to an elderly woman. The Commission has also written to the Chairman, Air India Limited to intervene in the matter and to take appropriate action against the culprit for the horrendous behaviour to an elderly woman on flight and violating her right to live a life of dignity and safety," the national women's panel said.
"A detailed action taken in the matter must be communicated to the Commission within 7 days," the NCW added.
Meanwhile, the Air India on Wednesday banned the accused from undertaking air-travel for a period of 30 days.
The airlines, in an official statement, said that they have taken very serious note of the incident that caused extreme distress to a passenger.
"Air India has taken a very serious note of the incident, where a passenger behaved in an unacceptable and undignified manner on the New York-Delhi flight that caused extreme distress to a fellow passenger. A police complaint has already been lodged in this case and Air India is committed to assisting the law enforcement agencies as well as regulatory authorities to ensure that justice is delivered to the aggrieved passenger," an Air India spokesperson said, adding that they have reported the matter to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for further action.
"We have also constituted an internal committee to probe lapses on the part of Air India's crew and address the deficiencies that delayed quick redressal of the situation. We are also in regular contact with the aggrieved passenger and her family during the investigation and reporting process," the spokesperson added.
Additionally, the Delhi Police has also registered the FIR under sections 354, 509, 510 of the Indian Penal Code and 23 of the Indian Aircraft Act, against the man, who, in an inebriated state, urinated on the female co-passenger travelling business class.
The police said the incident occurred on November 26 and the airline concerned (Air India) approached the police after a month and two days, i.e., on December 28.
Air India has lodged a complaint on the incident. In her letter to the chairman of the Board of Tata and Sons, N Chandrasekaran, the elderly passenger called the flight experience extremely traumatic and expressed deep disappointment over the incident in the business class section of the flight. In her letter, the woman said the 'appalling incident' occurred shortly after the lunch was served and the lights were switched off, as she was getting ready to sleep.
Within minutes, an inebriated male walked to her seat and unzipped his pants, relieving himself and continued to expose his private parts until another passenger asked him to return to his seat, the woman passenger alleged.
"During the course of the flight, shortly after lunch was served and the lights were switched off, I was getting ready to sleep, and another passenger walked to my seat completely inebriated. He unzipped his pants, relieved himself, and continued to expose me to his private parts. The passenger sitting next to me asked him to return to his seat. He did not respond immediately, but after a few moments left the area," her letter read.