26 July 2023 9:17 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with the order of the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) which upheld the order of the State Commission and District Forum directing Air India to pay a compensation of Rs2.03 lakh to a passenger who lost his luggage during travel. A division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rajesh Bindal, dismissing the appeal filed...
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with the order of the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) which upheld the order of the State Commission and District Forum directing Air India to pay a compensation of Rs2.03 lakh to a passenger who lost his luggage during travel.
A division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rajesh Bindal, dismissing the appeal filed by Air India against the order of the NCDRC, observed:
“In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case, we are not inclined to interfere with the order impugned herein under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.”
On 07-02-2023, the NCDRC had dismissed an appeal filed by Air India, and directed the airline to pay the balance 50% compensation out of the Rs2.03 lakh to the Complainant who lost his luggage. On an earlier occasion, the NCDRC had granted a stay and directed Air India to deposit 50% of the compensation awarded by the district forum, which was later upheld by the state forum. Since the carrier had already deposited 50% of the compensation amount, the NCDRC later directed payment of the balance amount to the complainant.
The Complainant Tushar Kothari had filed the complaint after he had lost one of his bags while travelling from Nagpur to Goa in an Air India flight. The district and state commissions ruled in favour of the complainant and directed Air India to compensate the passenger.
The Complainant and his family members had purchased Air India tickets to attend a wedding ceremony in Goa, with a stopover in Mumbai, departing from Nagpur. The airline examined 16 bags belonging to Mr. Kothari and his family and issued boarding passes accordingly. However, upon reaching their destination, only 15 bags were received, as one bag had been misplaced during the journey.
The airline could not locate the bag despite assuring the Complainant that they would search for it. Air India instead offered the Complainant a compensation of Rs3,600, which was calculated at the rate of Rs. 450 per kg for the missing bag.
The Complainant subsequently approached the district forum alleging deficiency in service on the part of the airline and seeking compensation of around 2 lakhs and additional compensation for mental agony and litigation expenses incurred. The complainant produced bills worth Rs2.03 lakh for the articles purchased for the wedding that were stored in the bag that went missing.
Air India contended that as per the provisions of Citizens Charter/Contract of Carriage Rule 1972 on Domestic Travel & Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (Ministry of Civil Aviation), the Complainant was required to declare the value of the articles of the misplaced bag.
The district forum found the airline liable for deficiency in service and directed payment of compensation. This was later affirmed by the state forum as well as the national forum. The Apex Court subsequently, refused to interfere with the order of the NCDRC.
Case Title: Air India Ltd. & Anr. V. Tushar Kothari, Special Leave Petition (Civil) Diary No(S). 23377/2023
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