INDIAN AIRLINES Vs. RENU GUPTA
DELHI STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
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(1.) BY this common order we shall be disposing of the above mentioned four appeals arising from the order dated 29.9.2005 passed by the District Forum.
(2.) APPELLANT airlines sells tickets to its consumer through its agents. On account of having failed to inform the respondent who had booked four tickets from the appellant airlines flight No. IC 7133 for travel on 21.9.2002 from Indore to Delhi about the change of time as the scheduled departure was originally 11.05 hours but it departed at 19.40 hours, the appellant has been vide impugned order dated 29.9.2005 directed to pay Rs. 5000 each of the respondents as compensation and Rs. 1,000 as cost of litigation, total Rs. 24,000.
(3.) THERE is no dispute that respondent No. 3 BPL Travel Pvt. Ltd. was operating its agent for booking the tickets. However, the tickets were purchased from sub -agent of respondent No. 3 namely Lords Travel i.e., respondent No. 2. The perusal of the record shows that everybody is shifting the blame to each other. The appellant has taken the plea that it had duly informed its agent i.e. respondent No. 3 one week prior the change in the schedule. So much so that the appellant could not directly inform the passenger as there was no contact number on the tickets. Thus according to the appellant, the deficiency in service if any was on the part of respondent No. 3 and in turn of respondent No. 2.
In our view the appellant has vicarious liability about the deficiency in service of its agent. Once the airlines or for that purpose any agency dealing in the business of travel engages the services of its agent for sale of tickets any lapse, shortcoming or imperfection on the part of agent in not informing the consumer renders the principal vicariously liable as the control over the agent is that of the principal and the principal cannot escape from its liability merely by taking the plea that it had already informed its agent. The contractual duty of the principal is to ensure particularly in such type of matters that their agents duly inform the consumers about change in time of the flight on their behalf. To keep a consumer waiting for more than 6 -7 long hours at the airport causes immense physical and mental hardship.;
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