New Delhi, Feb 1, 2020-
Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra, in the news following an encounter with news anchor Arnab Goswami during an IndiGo flight, has sent a legal notice to the carrier for banning him for six months and has called the decision “Illegal, high-handed and arbitrary.”
The notice sent through Advocate Prashant Sivarajan of Lawmen and White calls for immediate revocation of the suspension.
During the flight, Kamra had approached Republic TV’s Goswami and sought to question him on coverage of national affairs and the suicide of Rohith Vemula, in particular. Vemula was a Dalit activist and scholar at the Hyderabad University.
After the incident, IndiGo banned Kamra from flying.
Kamra has also sought an unconditional apology, to be published in all leading newspapers and broadcast by the electronic media and also on all social media platforms.
It has also demanded Rs 25,00,000 in damages by the airlines for causing Kamra mental pain and agony suffered as well as losses on account of cancellation of his scheduled shows and programmes in India as well as abroad.
It said the airline’s action went against the DGCA norms on the issue.
Giving an account of the incident, Kamra’s notice says, “On January 28, while flying on your aircraft Indigo 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow my client [in exercise of his right to freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution) sought to indulge in a conversation with the fellow passenger Arnab Goswami, and thereafter proceeded to critique the said individual’s style of journalism, which was met with no response.”.
At that time the seatbelt Signs were switched off, it said and added, shortly thereafter when the seatbelt signs came on, the stewardess asked Kamra to take his seat to which he duly complied.
After the takeoff, Kamra approached Goswami to which the news anchor replied that he was watching something and didn’t want to indulge in any conversation. After this, Kamra started to make a video of himself and aggressively questioning Goswami. When requested by the stewardess, Kamra proceeded back to his seat, the notice said.
At no point, the notice says during Kamra’s exchanges with Goswami was there any intervention by the cabin crew to the effect that such behaviour was unruly or disruptive or that Kamra was creating any nuisance whatsoever.
“At no point of time during the said exchanges between my client and Goswami was there any complaint by the fellow passengers that such behaviour was unruly, untoward or disruptive, much less posing any threat to flight safety. Even Goswami himself, towards whom my client’s exchanges were directed, didn’t make any complaint nor did he request the intervention of the cabin crew at any point of time,” the notice read. (Agency)