ILNS: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central Government to hold a meeting with the engineer, who has sought a direction for installing a fail-safe mechanism, the Engineered Material Arresting System (EMAS), designed to stop aircraft from overshooting runways.
The bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian said, “We have to do something about this. This is extremely dangerous for passengers.”
The petition, filed by Rajen Mehta, an 85-year-old mechanical engineer, through Advocate Shohit Chaudhry sought the installation of EMAS at vulnerable airports, including those at Mangaluru and Kozhikode, alleging that despite the Mangaluru crash in 2010, the Centre deliberately omitted installing EMAS at these airports.
The EMAS technology aims to lower the severity of consequences of runway excursion and is accepted internationally. It is an arrestor bed, which uses crushable material placed at the end of a runway to stop an aircraft that overruns the runway. It stops/arrests aircraft going at a speed of 70 knots (almost 130 kmph) or less.
Chief Justice Bobde asked Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, “Why don’t you answer the issues, rather than raising objections? This is in respect of our own safety.”
“There are reports, which reflect immense danger at the concerned airports. Have you read the counter, what do you say about the expert committee’s suggestions?” the CJI further asked.
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Chaudhry said the Centre has not appreciated the correct facts. However, the bench asked the Centre to write to Rajen Mehta and discuss the issue with him within two months.Writ-Petition-Civil-998_2020-12-04-2021