Centre, DIAL differ over security at IGI

Indira Gandhi International Airport is within “hyper-sensitive category” and is subjected to rigorous security audits, the Centre informed the Delhi high court. In a recent affidavit, the Bureau of Civil Aviation (BCAS) also told the high court that highest standards of security are being maintained at the airport, which sees regular security audit, inspections and tests. However, as regards installation of PNR readers, software integration and scanners, these are policy decisions to be taken by DIAL, which is the airport operator, the government agency said.

Interestingly, DIAL, in its affidavit, has cited that all security-related decisions at the airport are to be taken by Airports Authority of India and BCAS and the operator has no role in the matter. The replies were filed in response to a PIL filed by a lawyer seeking directions to conduct security audit at the airport. Advocate M Sufian Siddiqui has also sought installation of PNR scanners to verify the authenticity of e-tickets at the entry gate.

HC had earlier issued notice to the Centre and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security under the ministry of civil aviation on the plea. BCAS, in its affidavit, maintained that “all unlawful Jentries of passengers are intercepted and appropriate actions are taken. Further, the requirement of installing of PNR is a policy matter, and if answering agency requires it, same would be considered.” Siddiqui’s PIL highlighted the case of a British national who had to recently undergo the legal quagmire for entering the wrong terminal despite having a valid e-ticket.

“The only fault of the said person was that he was erroneously allowed by the CISF officials to enter the wrong terminal albeit he had a valid e-ticket, which staggeringly only mentioned Indira Gandhi Airport and did not mention the terminal number. But the price he had to pay was to face criminal prosecution as he was arrested and arraigned as an accused, besides confiscating his British passport and mobile phone,” the petition said. However, he was discharged later. The PIL pointed out various instances in which people have entered or attempted to enter the airport with fake tickets. It also sought to provide adequate education and training to the staff and CISF officials deployed at the entry gate of the airport terminals.