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Passenger Jeeja Ghosh was offloaded from a Spicejet plane in 2012 as she suffers from Cerebral Palsy. On thursday, the Supreme Court directed Spicejet to pay damages of Rs.10 lakhs to Ms. Ghosh.
On February 19, 2012 Jija Ghosh was to travel from Kolkata to Goa to attend a conference hosted by NGO ADAPT. Unfortunately, she was offloaded when the airlines came to learn about her health condition.
Bench of justices A K Sikri and R K Agrawal said that this insensitive act by Spicejet airlines has violated Ms. Ghosh’s dignity and her fundamental rights. This experience would have caused her emotional trauma. The manner in she was offloaded lacked sensitivity as well. The court stated that they have violated Rules,1937 and civil aviation requirements (CAR), 2008 guidelines.
This incident clearly proves that some of our airlines are hesitant to board people with serious health conditions or disable persons fearing an unfavourable situation, that may occur in the plane. But what needs to be borne in mind, is that people with health conditions whether mental or physical are already facing discrimination. They have to work and live their lives like any other normal human being despite their disability.
Imagine the emotional pain they undergo when they are humiliated by their families, friends and society. The airline industry can be more empathetic and provide any assistance needed to encourage them to travel like any other passengers.
The court and the bench of justices have worked hard in favour of Jija Ghosh. This is great news for all people with disability and people travelling with health conditions.
Jija Ghosh, notwithstanding her disability, stands out as a role model. She has given a voice to all those people who face discrimination because all they seek is a little empathy and a caring attitude.
Image of person in wheelchair via Shutterstock
Diana has worked as an Editor/Writer and Content Manager for various digital platforms and
Yes this is an important victory for people with disabilities, and health conditions which you have so rightly highlighted in this article. People need to definitely be more sensitive and aware of the needs of people with disabilities. Proper training of staff is the need of the hour. Passengers are customers and they need to be treated with dignity and respect. Having paid her fare she has every reason and right to be treated equally as others. It is really ridiculous that the flight staff didn’t clarify her position before taking a drastic step like off loading a passenger!! Spice Jet deserved to be fined for such poor hospitality shown to a customer.
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