The Delhi High Court on Thursday permitted conducting breath analyser tests through tube process for air traffic controllers while allowing modification in its earlier order suspending the same in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A single-judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla allowed the application moved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation sought modification in its earlier order dated March 23, 2020.
Advocate Anjana Gosain, appearing for the DGCA, told the court that after much deliberation it was concluded that the breath analyzer test is the most efficient and reliable form of detecting alcohol in the breath of the person.
Anjana said that the other methods including testing of blood and urine are neither considered to be practical nor is there any provision in any Civil Aviation Requirements (CARs) till date.
"Hence, in view of the above-said report, it has been decided to accept the same report dated June 16 and implement it by conducting random tests in a day by the concerned airline in terms of all the protocol suggested by DGMS (Air) vide its report dated 16.06.2020," the plea said.
The application said that it has been now recommended that once the breath analysing machine to test the member of the association or any other cabin crew has been used, the same would not be subjected for the next 12 hours.
Following this, the court allowed the DGCA's application for the tests and also gave liberty to the ATC's Guild to give suggestions for sanitising and other preventive measures. The bench also gave permission to the petitioner to give their suggestions in the form of representation to the Airports Authority of India, which it directed shall be considered by them.
The breath analyser tests were earlier suspended by the Delhi High Court in view of the COVID-19 pandemic after hearing a petition filed by the Air Traffic Controllers' Guild (India) to temporarily suspend the test to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.
Advocates Khushbu Sahu and Piyush Sanghi appeared for the petitioner in the matter.
The petitioner organisation had claimed that the breath analyser test violates their fundamental right to life and health amid the COVID-19 pandemic submitting that the procedure is done in such a manner that employees perform this exam one after the other using only one apparatus, which is "never sanitised or sterilised after each use".