IndiGo Halves Kunal Kamra’s Flight Ban To 3 Months

The saga of Kunal Kamra continues. Following the well-publicized six-month ban on the comedian, IndiGo has decided to reduce the ban to just three months. The reduction comes after a decision by IndiGo’s internal committee which was adjudicating the complaint following Kunal Kamra’s legal challenge.

IndiGo A320
IndiGo’s reduction comes following a legal challenge by Kunal Kamra. Photo: BriYYZ via Wikimedia Commons

Where did all this begin?

This reduction in Kunal Kamra’s ban comes after a long series of events. The ban was instigated due to an incident onboard an IndiGo flight from Mumbai to Lucknow. On the flight, comedian Kunal Kamra spotted journalist Arnab Goswami and proceeded to question him.

Part of the interaction was captured on video and posted by Karma, in which Kamra calls Goswami a “coward” and proceeds to heckle him. Kamra, in a statement, says that he first approached Goswami politely to have a discussion with him, and following a monologue by him Goswami called him “mentally unstable”.

A number of airlines followed in IndiGo’s footsteps and banned Kamra. Photo: Jonathan Payne via Flickr

This incident led to significant media attention and became a politically sensitive issue. IndiGo issued a six-month flight ban on Kunal Karma for “personal slander”. Following this, SpiceJet, Air India, and GoAir proceeded to do the same. Only Vistara and Air Asia India refused to do so immediately, citing the need for due process.

What has happened since?

The situation was even more complicated than it seemed, however. In a letter to management, the captain of the IndiGo flight on which the incident happened, said that while the situation was “unruly” it was not “reportable”. The lack of a complaint by the captain meant that IndiGo did not follow DGCA protocol which requires the captain to report an incident before the airline looks into the complaint. The rules also state that unruly behavior is a Level 1 offense and can be punished with a maximum of a three-month ban.

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Kunal Kamra’s legal challenge continues on even after the reduction in the ban. Photo: Getty Images

Kunal Karma then filed a legal challenge against IndiGo, citing mental agony and calling the ban illegal. He sought an unconditional apology, Rs. 25 lacks (approx $35,000) in damages and a revocation of the ban. This challenge was then heard by the court, while IndiGo’s internal committee discussed the issue too.

What happens now?

IndiGo’s internal committee reduced Kunal Kamra’s ban to three months and the court dismissed the lawsuit following this decision. Kamra’s lawyers, however, are still pushing for the case, saying that the decision is still illegal. There have been no statements by other airlines about possibly reducing his ban, whose original statements said he is banned “until further notice”.

IndiGo, the country’s biggest carrier, must hope to put this incident behind it. Photo: Airbus

The entire incident has generated considerable media attention, with people on social media forcefully defending their position. IndiGo, the country’s largest carrier, must hope to put this incident behind it and move on. We’ll definitely be waiting to see what comes next from this story next.