Shiv Sena MPs on Monday said the ban imposed by all airlines on fellow member Ravindra Gaikwad should be lifted but the government said airlines had the right to refuse a passenger.
The issue was raised by Sena member Anandrao Adsul in the Lok Sabha.
“There was some dispute, he had beaten an Air India staffer. I agree it is wrong. Air India has filed a police complaint and we will accept whatever the result is, that is not a problem,” he said.
“The problem is all airlines have restricted him. The constitution says people can go anywhere in the country. If there is one incident and all airlines ban him, it is wrong,” he said.
Adsul cited the example of actor Kapil Sharma who he alleged misbehaved with an airline staffer on a flight to Australia.
“He was not banned. But a person who represents people, and when the session is on, was banned.”
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju said an MP was another passenger and violence of any kind on a flight can turn into a disaster.
He said airlines have been empowered to deny boarding to any passenger whose demeanour was not proper.
“An MP is also a passenger. Now that the MP has raised it, we can’t have unequal treatment to people of different classes… We need to keep safety in mind, we can’t compromise safety of airlines,” Raju said.
Air India and all private carriers have refused to fly Gaikwad after he repeatedly hit an Air India employee with a slipper last week.