New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today sought the responses of the Centre, aviation regulator DGCA and Jet Airways on a PIL alleging that the airline was flouting national and international flight safety regulations by allowing unauthorised persons to travel overseas by “masquerading” as its crew on a “general declaration”.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Civil Aviation Ministry, Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the airline and sought their replies to the plea which has alleged that the general declaration allowed such persons “to avoid obtaining a visa and pass undetected into foreign territory”.

The petition by one Rajneesh Kapur, who claims to be a journalist, submits that General Declaration (GD) is a declaration of the passengers, air crew and cargo, being ferried in an international flight by the flight operator.

In support of his allegation, the petitioner has cited the January 2018 incident of a Jet Airways cabin crew member being arrested by the Department of Revenue Intelligence for being in possession of contraband foreign currency worth over Rs three crore.

“In practice, most countries accept the furnishing of a General Declaration, duly authorised by the operator, along with a valid passport and a crew identity card by crew members, in place of a visa for short-duration stays in order to facilitate the streamlining of international flight operations,” the plea, filed through advocate Nikhil Borwanker, said.

This declaration is being violated by Jet Airways, the petitioner has alleged and claimed that the persons allowed to travel as flight crew under the GD may be part of some illegal activities like money laundering.

The plea also claimed the existence of a conflict of interest in the operations of DGCA, as the regulator often hired employees of Jet Airways as its senior officials.

The petition alleged that due to this, DGCA “routinely turns a blind eye” to any violation of civil aviation rules by the private airline.

It has sought issuance of show cause notices to the regulator and the airline as to why there should not be an investigation by CBI or a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the alleged violations. The court will hear the matter next on August 29.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.