The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a detailed probe into the crash of the Mirage 2000 aircraft at the HAL Airport in Bengaluru which took the lives of two pilots earlier this month.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna stated that a judicial inquiry cannot be conducted into such mishaps.
"Do you know Mirage 2000 is of which generation? We are now on the 6th generation. It is bound to crash," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked petitioner-advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava according to a report to Deccan Herald.
The advocate reportedly could not respond to the judge's question about the aircraft’s generation and the judges dismissed the petition.
On February 1, a Mirage 2000 aircraft crashed during a sortie run at the HAL Airport premises killing Squadron Leaders Samir Abrol and Siddhartha Negi. The two pilots were part of the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) attached to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The aircraft was recently upgraded by HAL and was being tested for customer acceptance when it crashed close to the eastern wall of the HAL airport at around 10:30 am.
A PIL was filed by advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava to conduct a thorough enquiry into the crash and to take correctional steps to ensure that similar crashes do not occur in the future. The petitioner had highlighted a media report stating that there have been 35 aircraft crashes (including helicopters) since 2015-16 in which 45 lives have been lost.
Garima Abrol, the wife of Samir Abrol, also made a passionate appeal on social media demanding answers after her husband's demise. Sushant Abrol, Samir's brother, had also penned a moving poem in which he claimed that while his brother risked his life flying outdated machines, "the bureaucracy enjoyed its corrupt cheese and wine".
Speaking to TNM, Wing Commander (Retd.) GB Athri stated that the aircraft the pilots were flying was upgraded and that it was flight-worthy.
“Mirages were inducted into the IAF in 1985. They were in service from the late 70s. Aeroplanes older than the Mirage are in use too, like the MIGs from the mid-60s,” Wing Commander (Retd.) Athri stated.
He added that when such incidents take place, the Indian Air Force orders a court of enquiry which is subject to its own jurisdiction and nobody else has locus standi in this. “The Supreme Court has dismissed a probe by an external agency because in the course of the enquiry classified information would have been divulged to the external agency. But the enquiry of the IAF is on and it will be rectified over the course of time,” he said.