INDIAN AIRLINES LIMITED Vs. V S SINGH
LAWS(RAJCDRC)-2006-5-2
RAJASTHAN STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
Decided on May 26,2006

INDIAN AIRLINES LIMITED Appellant
VERSUS
V S Singh Respondents

JUDGEMENT

- (1.)THIS appeal under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as "the Act of 1986") has been filed by the appellants (opposite party Nos. 1 and 2 in the original complaint) against the order dated 24.8.2004 passed by the learned District Forum, Jaipur -I, Jaipur in case No. 159/2001 by which the complaint filed by the complainant -respondent No.1 under Section 12 of the Act of 1986 was partially allowed in the manner that the appellants were directed to pay to the complainant -respondent No. 1 a sum of Rs. 1,00,242 within three months from the date of passing order and in case the said amount was not paid within three months, the complainant -respondent No. 1 would be entitled to get interest on the above amount at the rate of 12% p.a.
(2.)THE necessary facts giving rise to this appeal are as follows :
On 8.8.2000, the complainant -respondent No. 1 had filed a complaint under Section 12 of the Act of 1986 before the District Forum, Jaipur -II, Jaipur, which was later on transferred to the District Forum, Jaipur -I, Jaipur, stating inter alia that he had purchased air tickets from the respondent No. 2 Durga Travel and Tours (opposite party No. 3 in the original complaint) in the following manner:

S. No. No. of Tickets Place Date Jet Airways/Indian Airlines 1. 4 Jaipur to Delhi 28.5.2000 Jet Airways 2. 4 Delhi to Bagdogra 29.5.2000 Indian Airlines 3. 4 Bagdogra to Delhi 14.6.2000 Jet Airways 4. 4 Delhi to Jaipur 15.6.2000 Jet Airways It was further stated in the complaint that the above tickets were purchased by the complainant -respondent No. 1 in his own name, in the name of his wife and in the name of his two daughters, after paying a sum of Rs. 56,272. It was further stated in the complaint that on 28.5.2000, the complainant respondent No. 1 along with his family members had reached Delhi by Jet Airways Flight. It was further stated in the complaint that on 29.5.2000 when the complainant had reported at Delhi Airport Terminal for going to Bagdogra, he was informed that the flight No. IC 879 would not land at Bagdogra as the runway at Bagdogra Airport was not available on that day due to Damer setting spilled near the runway as there was heavy rain on the previous night. It was further stated in the complaint that the complainant -respondent No. 1 was asked by the office of the appellants that if he wishes, he along with family members could be dropped at Guwahati or Calcutta by Indian Airlines Flight from where they could reach Bagdogra by making their own arrangements, but the complainant -respondent No. 1 did not accept that offer. It was further stated in the complaint that for cancellation of the flight on 29.5.2000, the complainant respondent No. 1 was not informed well in time. It was further stated in the complaint that when runway of Bagdogra Airport was being repaired, therefore, this fact was within the knowledge of the appellants and despite that, they did not provide information in this regard to Jaipur office and on the contrary, their authorized agent respondent No. 2 had issued confirmed and OK tickets for Bagdogra, as such, the complainant respondent No. 1 was left with no option, but to get the tickets cancelled and had to return back to Jaipur along with his family members. It was further stated in the complaint that the act of the appellants amounted to deficiency in service and due to negligence and mistake of the appellants, the complainant respondent No. 1 and his family members had suffered inconveniences and mental agony and in this respect, letters Annex. 4 and Annex. 5 dated 8.6.2000 were written by the complainant -respondent No. 1 to the Chairman and Managing Director and General Manager (Commercial) of Indian Airlines, New Delhi and through letters dated 14.6.2000 (Annex. 7) and 16.6.2000 (Annex. 8), the authorities of the Indian Airlines (appellants) regretted the inconveniences caused to the complainant -respondent No. 1 and his family members, as no prior information was given to him about cancellation of flight to Bagdogra from Delhi on 29.5.2000. According to the complainant -respondent No. 1, the act of the appellants amounted to deficiency in service and hence, compensation in the following manner was claimed by the complainant respondent No. 1: (i) Rs. 7,080 for travelling from Jaipur to Delhi. (ii) Rs. 500 for local transportation. (iii) Rs. 450 for stay at Delhi (iv) Rs. 3,940 for travelling from Delhi to Jaipur (v) Rs. 10,000 for loss caused due to not availing holidays and not attending Govt. work. (vi) Rs. 56,272 Loss of LTC (vii) Rs. 1,00,000 for incoveniences and mental agony caused to complainant and his family members Total : Rs. 1,78,242 A reply was filed by the appellants on 7.11.2000 stating inter alia:

(i) That no cause of action had accrued at Jaipur and cause of action had accrued only at Delhi, therefore, present complaint deserves to be dismissed on ground of jurisdiction.

(ii) That since the complaint was filed only by the complainant respondent No. 1 and other family members, who were to travel, were not made parties, therefore, it was a case of non -joinder of necessary parties. From this point of view also, the present complaint deserves to be dismissed.

(iii) That the repair work at Bagdogra Airport was started in January 2000 and it was to be completed by June, 2000 and, therefore, flights, which were to be landed there, were restricted.

(iv) That on 28.5.2000, coaltar was laid on the runway at Bagdogra Airport, but due to heavy rain, which had occurred in the night of 28.5.2000, that was displaced and because of that, plane could not land and, therefore, on 29.5.2000 at 6.45 a.m., the Airport Traffic Control, Bagdogra informed the office of the appellants at Delhi by way of fax that Bagdogra Airport would not be available on 29.5.2000 and in such a situation, the flight was cancelled. Thus, there was no fault on the part of the appellants and no mistake or negligence could be attributed.

After hearing the parties, the learned District Forum, Jaipur -I, Jaipur through order dated 24.8.2004 partially allowed the complaint of the complainant respondent No. 1 in the manner as indicated above holding inter alia:

(i) That plane could not land at Bagdogra Airport because of the damage to the runway on 29.5.2000 and for that, prior information must have been given and by not doing so, there was deficiency in service on the part of the appellants.

(ii) That the appellants and their agents were aware of the fact that the runway of Bagdogra Airport was being repaired and despite that, before issuance of OK tickets, they did not inform about this to the complainant -respondent No. 1.

(iii) That so far as the amount of Rs. 56,272 is concerned, that amount was to be paid by the Government as tickets were purchased by the complainant respondent No. 1 in availing LTC and since LTC facility, which was going to be availed by the complainant -respondent No. 1 has been interrupted during transit of the journey and complainant -respondent No. 1 had to come back, therefore, the complainant -respondent No. 1 had suffered a loss of Rs. 56,272.

(iv) That Rs. 11,970 were further awarded by the District Forum as amount spent by the complainant respondent No. 1 for journey from Jaipur to Delhi and Delhi to Jaipur.

(v) That Rs. 32,000 were further awarded by the District Forum as amount of compensation on account of inconveniences and mental agony caused to the complainant respondent No. 1 and his family members due to cancellation of flight from Delhi to Bagdogra on 29.5.2000. Aggrieved from the said order dated 24.8.2002 passed by the learned District Forum, Jaipur -I, Jaipur, the appellants have preferred this appeal.

(3.)IN this appeal, the following submissions have been made by the learned Counsel for he appellants:
(i) That the jurisdiction for filing complaint was with the consumer Forum at Delhi and not at Jaipur as the flight in question was to take off from Delhi Airport.

(ii) That since complaint was filed by the complainant respondent No. 1 alone and not by other family members, therefore, a defect of non -joinder of necessary parties is also there and from this point of view also, the complaint deserves to be dismissed.

(iii) That plane could not land at Bagdogra Airport on 29.5.2000 and since for that information was received by the appellants on 29.5.2000 by fax in the morning, therefore, it was not possible for the appellants to inform the complainant -respondent No. 1 earlier to that and since damage to the runway was caused due to the heavy rains, which had fallen on 28.5.2000 at Bagdogra, as a result of which, coaltar was displaced, therefore, for that act, since it was beyond control, appellants could not be held guilty and no deficiency in service on the part of the appellants could be attributed.

(iv) That as per Section 14(d) of the Act of 1986, compensation could be awarded only for the loss or injury suffered by the consumers due to deficiency in service of the opposite party and since there was no negligence or deficiency in service on the part of the appellants, awarding of compensation was wrong one.

On the other hand, the learned Counsel appearing for the complainant -respondent No. 1 has supported the impugned order of the learned District Forum. It was further submitted that compensation must have been awarded on two counts:

(i) That since because of the cancellation of the flight on 29.5.2000, the complainant respondent No. 1 had to cancel his journey from Delhi to Bagdogra and had to return back from Delhi to Jaipur, therefore, the facility of LTC, which was being used by the complainant -respondent No. 1, has been interrupted and disturbed and since next LTC could only be availed after four years, therefore, for the loss of one LTC, the amount spent on LTC to the tune of Rs. 56,272 and Rs. 11,970 must have been awarded and the learned District Forum has rightly awarded so.

(ii) That since inconveniences and mental agony have been caused to the complainant -respondent No. 1 and his family members due to cancellation of flight, therefore, on that count also, compensation must have been awarded and hence, Rs. 32,000 were rightly awarded by the learned District Forum on that count.



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