On Friday, the Supreme Court upheld Bombay High Court's order to permit middle-seat occupancy in domestic airlines.
The apex court order says that in the wake of pandemic adequate safety measures had been deployed by the carriers for safety and health of passengers.
SC Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Bhushan Gavai dismissed Air India pilot Deven Kanani's challenge against Bombay High Court's order permitting middle-seat occupancy for Air India and all other domestic airlines as it violates social distancing.
Kanani had filed special leave petition against aviation regulator DGCA's (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) decision announced on 31 May, which allowed airlines to sell middle seats in the flight.
DGCA had submitted that expert committee recommendations on safety, health have been incorporated for flight operations and that the panel had recommended allowing discretion for airlines to keep the middle seat vacant, subject to passenger load. The expert panel's report said that COVID-19 can not spread just by touching, which would mean that keeping middle seats won't matter.
DCGA has asked airlines to keep middle seats empty as far as possible, however, if they had to use them, then special PPE will have to be provided to the person occupying the middle seat.