HC seeks to know about vaccination of pilots, details of those deployed for Vande Bharat mission

MUMBAI: Hearing a petition, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked a pilots’ union to furnish information such as the number of pilots deployed for the `Vande Bharat’ mission and their duty hours.

It also sought to know how many pilots have been vaccinated for COVID-19 so far.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni was hearing a petition filed by the Federation of Indian Pilots seeking compensation for the pilots who died of COVID-19 or contracted the viral infection while doing their duty, The petition demanded priority in vaccination and insurance cover for pilots, saying they are providing an essential service.

The Union government should provide compensation of Rs 10 crore each for the families of the pilots who died due to COVID-19, it said.

Senior advocate Prasad Dhakephalkar, appearing for the petitioners, stated that since February 2021, at least 13 Indian pilots have died due to coronavirus infection.

Pilots are front-line workers who have been working through the pandemic and they should get priority in vaccination besides compensation, he said.

The Indian government launched the Vande Bharat mission to bring back Indians stranded in foreign countries following the coronavirus outbreak and resultant lockdowns.

The bench said before hearing the petition further it would like to have facts and figures.

“We want to know how many pilots are yet to be vaccinated, how many are vaccinated, how many pilots are deployed on Vande Bharat flights, what were their duty hours and so on,” the court said.

The bench directed the federation to file an affidavit and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.