Supreme Court | Expert Committee directed to enquire aspects upon need for disinfection of aircraft to control spread of vector-borne diseases

Supreme Court: A Division Bench of Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ. directed an expert committee constituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s earlier Order dated 16-07-2019, to enquire into all relevant aspects bearing upon the need for disinfection of aircraft as a measure designed to control the spread of vector-borne diseases.

Court noted that, “The issue of disinfecting of aircraft involves, on the one hand, concerns relating to the need to take steps for preventing the transmission of vector-borne diseases. On the other hand, it involves issues pertaining to the health of passengers and crew who may be exposed to insecticides. Hence, we are of the view that the entire matter should be directed to be considered by the above Committee.”

Thus, on noting the above, the Supreme Court bench directed the above-said committee to enquire upon into all the aspects in regard to disinfection of aircraft and also stated that the ambit of reference made to the Committee will not be restricted and it should have the opportunity to enquire into all the relevant aspects. The aspect could illustratively include:

  • The need, if any, for disinsection of aircraft;
  • The recommendations made by WHO and the best practices followed internationally;
  • The impact of disinsection on the health and safety of passengers and crew;
  • If disinsection is necessary, the modalities to be followed for disinfection; and
  • The steps which are required to be taken to ensure that adequate safeguards are observed to protect the health and safety of passengers and crew who may be exposed to disinfection if disinfection is required.

Further, the Committee has been asked to submit its report within a period of two months. Clarification on Solicitor General’s request was made by the Court that, if the Committee would consider it necessary to seek a demonstration of the process the interim order will not come in the way of the demonstration being made to the Committee.

The appeal has been further listed for 07-02-2020. [Interglobe Aviation Ltd. v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1538, decided on 29-11-2019]

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