MPs : Do they have a right to misbehave?

Glorified MPs

        THE fracas over the war of words between an Air India pilot and Lok Sabha MP from Kerala, Abdul Wahab, is yet to end but it should serve as another reminder to our exalted representatives of the people that they cannot always get away with boorish behaviour. The Indian Pilots Association has demanded an apology from the MP who not only insulted the pilot of his Dubai- bound flight calling him a “ glorified driver” but, more importantly, compromised the safety and security of his fellow passengers by barging into the cockpit of the plane.


         What the MP forgot is that while he may be the lord of the people, the pilot is king inside his aircraft. And there are good reasons for this. Does the MP know about air rage and dispruptive behavior, and that the pilot has complete authority to disembark a passenger if he finds the passenger a safety hazard on board?


         Many countries in the world and several airlines have drawn up a Disruptive Passenger Protocol which sets out responsibilities and response for the crew, victim, and airline. Of course, this is normally reserved for drunk and disruptive behaviour, but they include abusive and foul- mouthed passengers too.


      While Mr Wahab may be booked for disruptive behaviour, there was nothing that the pilot did which prevented the MP from exercising his functions as a parliamentarian. So, the threat of using a privilege motion to punish the pilot does not hold water.


      Wahab came up with his own version of the event. This cuts little ice because the ways of our VIPs are well known, especially their proclivity for delaying aircraft and trains, and misusing public sector units as though they are their personal property and their workers, their personal staff.

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