An Air India pilot has moved the Delhi High Court challenging an order suspending him for testing positive for alcohol. The pilot has contended that it was the alcohol content in his hairfall treatment serum that showed up in the breath analyser (BA) test.
During the hearing, the learned counsel appearing for Captain Amit Tyagi told Justice Vibhu Bakhru
that the pre-flight BA test showed the reading between 0.16 and 0.20, which was below the international permissible standard of 0.40. On the other hand, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which suspended Tyagi in May 2018 for three years, told the court that its standard for permissible alcohol level was zero.
The suspended pilot has also contended before the court that the blood and urine tests, immediately conducted by him from a private lab on the same day as the breath analyser (BA) test, did not show any alcohol in his system. The contention was countered by DGCA by saying that the pilot had once tested alcohol positive in the past and had then claimed it was due to consumption of cough syrup. The order of suspension passed against the pilot was upheld by the Civil Aviation Ministry in April this year which led him to move the Delhi High Court. Hearing the matter, Justice Bakhru asked whether application of cosmetics containing alcohol would show up in the BA test. The court further questioned if the BA test will catch alcoholic "remnants of this nature even in application of perfume.” The court has sought a response from the DGCA and the Civil Aviation Ministry, listing the matter for further hearing on August 13, 2019.