Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air India filed petitions against the impugned order dated May 22, 2020, of the Bombay High Court. Thereafter, a special meeting took place on May 25, 2020. Subsequently, the Supreme Court allowed Air India to operate non-scheduled special fights for ten days. Adding to it, the Apex Court ordered to follow the directions issued by the Bombay High Court i.e. to keep the middle seats vacant. The Supreme Court consisted of Chief Justice of India Sharad Arwind Bobde, Justices A. S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy. The court also considered the extra-ordinary situation as it has already issued tickets to Indians stranded Abroad.
The Bombay High Court earlier held that the circular issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on March 23, 2020, is only enforceable against international flights. The circular was to keep the middle seats empty in flights; it was to ensure social distancing as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. On the other hand, Petitioners contended that the circular is applicable to scheduled domestic flights and not special international flights. Furthermore, May 22 circular superseded the previous circular. The circular had no direction to keep the middle seat vacant. However, the court contended that the circular is only applicable to domestic flights.