Sat, 09 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], September 22 (ANI): A Delhi Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to bodybuilder and social media influencer Bobby Kataria in an FIR registered against him for allegedly smoking on board during his journey from Dubai to Delhi on the complaint of Spice Jet Ltd.

A First Information Report u/s 3 (1) (c) of Suppression of Unlawful act against the safety of civil Aviation Act,1982 by IGI Airport dated August 14, 2022, was registered against Balwant Kataria @Bobby Kataria.

The Principal District and Sessions Dharmesh Sharma on Thursday granted bail to Kataria and directed him to join the office on September 27.

Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa appeared for Kataria had argued persuasively that it was admitted fact of the prosecution that there was no eyewitness or crew member near the applicant's seat when the alleged incident took place which by itself is highly improbable.

On invocation of section 3(1)(c) of Suppression of Unlawful act against the safety of civil Aviation by the Delhi Police, Sr Advocate Pahwa submitted that Sec.3(1)(c) does not make out as this act can only be invoked for the incident of Airplane hijacking or for anti-terrorism activities. Senior counsel also contended that the object of the act in question is to stop and prevent terrorist activities. The act came into force to prevent acts of aeroplane hijacking and was adopted in light of the international commitment of India to the Chicago/Montreal convention of anti-hijacking activities.

Senior Advocate Pahwa has vehemently argued that according to section 5 (A) of the Suppression of Unlawful act against the safety of civil Aviation Act,1982 Delhi Police has no power to investigate or even invoke section 3(1)(c), as that power has been specifically given to authority under central government notification in the official gazette. Suppression of Unlawful acts against the safety of the civil Aviation Act 1982 has been mentioned in the schedule of the NIA Act,2008.

Kataria's lawyer further submitted that the power to invoke the questioned act is only of NIA. He further added that the Delhi Police has invoked this act without any authority, which is impermissible in law. Ld. Senior Counsel prayed that anticipatory bail should be granted to the applicant as no offence is made out against the applicant/accused.

A Delhi Court had also issued a non-bailable Warrant (NBW) against Bobby Kataria on September 7 in the matter.

It was in August that a video surfaced in which Kataria was seen smoking a cigarette during a flight. The video that went viral was said to have been shot in January. However, following a complaint by the airline manager, Delhi Police had booked Kataria under section 3(1)(C ) of The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Civil Aviation Act 1982.

According to the Police, Kataria was on the run since a case has been registered against him.

Delhi police had received a complaint in August month against Kataria from Spice Jet manager Jasbir Singh, who had requested to take action against Kataria for violation of security and safety measures onboard the flight.

It was also alleged that Kataria had uploaded pictures and videos from his social media accounts wherein he was seen with a lighter and smoking a cigarette on board Spice Jet flight no. SG-706, dated January 21, 2022. (ANI)

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