Decided on March 07,2006



J.D.KAPOOR,J - (1.) ON account of delayed delivery of the baggage to the respondent, the appellant -airline vide impugned order dated 21.3.2005, has been directed to pay compensation of Rs. 20,000 less the amount already paid. Feeling aggrieved the appellant has directed this appeal.
(2.) FACTS giving rise to the impugned order in brief are as that the respondent boarded Flight No. BA -296 on 15.9.2002 from Chicago to London. At Chicago the respondent had got checked in two bags vide DOC No. BA -520057 and 520058 for direct delivery at New Delhi. The flight arrived at New Delhi at 10.40 p.m. on 16.9.2002. However, his baggage had not arrived on this flight. After inquires by the respondent the officials of the appellant at the airport told him that his baggage had not been loaded on flight No. BA -143 at London. Ultimately the baggage was delivered to the respondent on the next day i.e., in the late hours. The baggage contained several important business documents and tender quotations which were required by him for a meeting scheduled at Allahabad on 17.9.2002 and in the absence of these documents he was forced to miss the business meeting. This caused him tremendous harassment and mental agony as the non -participation in the said meeting deprived him of an opportunity to get a contract for his firm. It was also alleged that the house keys of the respondent and his cell phone were also in his baggage. He could not go home and was forced to stay at a hotel till his baggage arrived. Thus the respondent had to undergo considerable inconvenience and great physical and mental suffering. The respondent vide letter dated 17.9.2002 and 18.9.2002 claimed a compensation of 500 UK pound from the appellant for the harassment etc. However, while accepting their responsibility for the delayed delivery of the baggage the appellant sent a cheque for only Rs. 2,500 as an ex -gratia payment. The respondent received this amount under protest and this was informed to the appellant vide letter dated 7.10.2002.
(3.) THERE is no dispute that the baggage was delivered to the respondent on 17.9.2002 i.e., on the day following the arrival of the flight at Delhi. According to the Counsel for the appellant there was no deficiency in service on the part of the appellant inasmuch as that all the carriers do not guarantee the carrying of the baggage on the same flight on which the passenger travels and on arrival at Delhi he was informed that his baggage would be arriving by the next flight. Further that no loss or injury suffered by the respondent was proved and the compensation awarded by the District Forum was uncalled for, unjustified and was awarded for inconvenience for not using the cellular phone. To say that a passenger who carries baggage with him in a foreign land would not be inconvenienced even if it is delivered late by one day is not correct. In the instant case the respondent had suffered tremendous harassment and mental agony as he could not participate in the meeting at Allahabad which deprived him an opportunity to collect contract for his firm and moreover the house keys of the respondent were in his baggage and, therefore, he could not go home and was forced to stay at hotel till his baggage arrived. A person carries not only valuable documents or valuables along with him when he goes out for a business purpose or otherwise he suffers not only loss but the mental injury and inconvenience, if he is deprived of his baggage.;

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