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Saikrishna wins pro bono for ‘flying coffin’ MIG pilot injured in 2005 crash

“The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to pay Rs 55 lakh as compensation to an Indian Air Force pilot who was injured in a MiG-21 crash in 2005. While the government will pay Rs 5 lakh, the state-run aeronautics firm will have to shell out Rs 50 lakh to Wing Commander Sanjeet Singh Kaila within four weeks,” reported PTI.

Saikrishna & Associates senior associate Bharat Kumar acted pro bono (free of charge) for Kalia.

Justices Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma, who gave the order, have with this case made a landmark by being the first to recognise the right of armed force personnel to a safe working environment, as a fundamental right extending under the right to life.

Scroll, in its report, wrote:

This is the first time that a crash survivor has asked for redressal from the government, according to PTI. The Russian fighter jets are infamous for inherent defects and the poor workmanship at HAL’s facilities only makes things worse. The fight jet has often been referred to as the “Flying Coffin”.

Kaila met with the accident, which left him with cervicalgia and disc bulges of the vertebrae, during a regular exercise on January 4, 2005. After thorough medical examination, he was deemed unfit for flying and even day-to-day activities.

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