The number of suspensions of pilot in India has been increasing over the years. This excludes the ones under the breath analyzer positive regulations. Suspension of the flying license is the harshest measure that DGCA can take as a deterrent in order to preserve safety.
DGCA State Safety Policy
DGCA will foster and assist stakeholders in developing comprehensive Safety Management Systems (SMS) and will develop preventive safety strategies for the aviation system in an environment of a “just culture”.
CAR Sec I, Ser C, Part I
Just Culture: It is a culture in which personnel are:
Therefore the investigation must determine the root cause/es in order to distinguish between 1 and 2 above. So far, the regulator has not established the root cause, completed the investigation yet managed to merge points 1 & 2 above. The net effect is that punitive action has been taken arbitrarily and to the detriment of the minimal safety culture which had been in existence.
Principles of DGCA India Enforcement Policy ( Download the manual here)
The ‘Public Trust Doctrine’ is based on the concept that the powers held by Government officers are, in fact, powers that originate with the people, and are entrusted/ delegated to the government officers only as a means of exercising governance and with the sole objective that such powers shall be exercised in good faith for the benefit of the people.
Powers exercised contrary to the ‘Public Trust Doctrine’ would amount to abuse of powers and contravene the rule of law.
In the process of ensuring enforcement, the officers shall invariably be guided by the following principles:
In the exercise of his discretion, the Officer/Inspector should be guided by the following general approach (DGCA EM, Introduction):
Crew must refer to the relevant sections of the DGCA Enforcement manual for more exhaustive information.
To summarize, the state safety policy lays emphasis on the benefits of safety culture and an environment of just culture. However, the opposite is being practiced and the bond of trust is being destroyed by targeting pilots and using the harshest means of punitive action as a deterrence for any occurrence. In this environment where there is blatant misuse and violation of the public trust doctrine amounting to abuse of power by the regulator, the pilots must read the provisions of the DGCA regulation s carefully and use all options available to demand a just and fair process be established.