A new rule has been drafted by aviation regulator DGCA formally empowering the pilot-in-command of all flights to take suitable action to prevent such commotion which could endanger safety of the flight or passengers or crew members. It empowers airline staff to "monitor" drunk passengers in lounges or at the airport check-points.

The rule makes it mandatory for all airlines, including foreign carriers operating in Indian territory, as well as non-scheduled and charter operators, to evolve Standard Operating Procedures to deal with such situations.
The draft comes a month after a drunk Indian passenger had to be tied up on board an Air India flight from Melbourne to Delhi when he created a mid-air rumpus after having one too many. He was arrested by police after the plane landed here on charges of causing hurt and wrongful restraint.

Such incidents have been on the rise globally, with the airlines' body International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimating that the number of unruly behaviour reported by airlines had reached some 8,000 cases in 2013.

The proposed rule or Civil Aviation Requirement says that disruptive behaviour of a passenger could not only aggravate discomfort to passengers or disturb crew members from doing their job, but also endanger safety and security of a flight.

Although unruly passengers represent a "minute" proportion of passengers, "we must not forget that one aggressive passenger can jeopardise the entire safety on board an aircraft," official sources said.

Existing laws in India provide imprisonment of disruptive passengers for up to one year or pay up a fine of up to Rs five lakh or both.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked all stakeholders to submit their comments on the draft law within a month, they said.

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