Decided on July 28,2009

Aliyarukunju Asharaf Appellant


K.R.UDAYABHANU, PRESIDENT - (1.)REVISION Petition 17/08 is filed by the judgment debtors M/s Kuwait Airways and Revision Petition 05/09 is filed by the complainant over the order of the CDRF, Thiruvananthapuram in EA No. 18 of 2005.
(2.)THE dispute is with respect to the monetary equivalent of 5,000 Francs directed to be paid towards compensation for the lost luggage vide the order of the State Commission. The Decree Holder has calculated the amount as Rs. 2,05,000. They have also claimed future interest at 12% as per the order of the Commission. On the other hand the Judgment Debtors deposited an amount of Rs. 23,005. It is the contention of the opposite party/Judgment Debtors that the conversion of Francs should be as per the settled judicial precedents i.e., 20 US Dollars for 250 Francs. The Decree Holder on the other hand had claimed conversion value on the monetary equivalent of the prize of gold i.e., 65 1/2 milligrammes of gold of millisimal fineness Nine Hundred, relying on Rule 22(5) of the II Schedule of the Carriage by Air Act. The Forum directed to make the payment as per the conversion of Francs into Rupee straight. Hence both the parties are aggrieved with respect to the order of the Forum.
(3.)IT is pointed out by the opposite party that in the OP No. 403/98 which is sought to be executed, the CDRF had ordered to pay a sum of Rs. 1,24,159. The amount claimed by the complainant towards the value of the articles lost was Rs.1,64,159. In appeal the State Commission set aside the order of the Forum and held that the complainant would be entitled only for the loss of 20 Kg of luggage at the rate of 250 Francs which would work out to 5000 France. The Commission relied on Rule 22(2) of the I Schedule of the Carriage by Air Act, 1972. It is pointed out by the counsel for the opposite party that the claim in the EP for a sum of Rs 1,40,000 at the rate of Rs. 28 per Franc is clearly in violation of the order of the Commission which has set aside the order of the Forum directing to pay an amount of Rs. 1,24,159. As per the statement filed in the EP the complainant has calculated the monetary equivalent of 5000 Franc in terms of the value of the gold as Rs. 2,05,000. The amount does not tally with the amount claimed in the EP. The total amount claimed including interest at 12% and costs is Rs. 2,05,000 in the EP whereas the amount claimed as per the statement filed is Rs. 3,27,148. The counsel for the opposite party has relied on the direction in the judgment in appeal i.e. appeal 4/00 against the order of the Forum wherein the Commission at para 23 has mentioned that the amount payable in Franc. i.e., 5000 Francs shall be converted as per Section 6 of the Carriage by Air Act, 1972 at the rate prevailing on the date of the order. Section 6 of the above Act provides that the conversion of Francs into rupees should be at the rate of exchange prevailing on the date on which the amount of damages to be paid by the carrier is to be ascertained by the Court. Rule 22(4) of the I -Schedule of Carriage by Air Act, 1976 provides that the sums mentioned in this rule shall be deemed to refer to the French Franc consisting of 65 1/2% miligrammes of gold of millesimal fineness nine hundred. Schedule II Rule 22(5) of the above Act mentions that the sums mentioned in Francs in this, rules shall be deemed to refer to a currency unit consisting of 65 1/2 miligrammes of gold of millesimal fineness nine hundred. It also provides that these sums may be converted into national currencies in round figures. Further conversion of the sums into national currencies other than gold shall in case of judicial proceedings, be made according to the gold value of such currencies at the date of the judgment.
On the other hand the counsel for the opposite parties have relied on the judicial decisions of the State Commission and the National Commission which has also been impliedly approved by the Supreme Court that the value of 250 Francs is equal to 20 US Dollars. It is also pointed out that in the ticket itself the liability has been limited to 20 US Dollars per kilogram. The revision petitioner in Revision 17/08 has produced the copy of the above portion of the ticket. The decisions cited are Air Lanka Ltd. v. S. Prasannan; Manager, Oman Air v. K.K. Abdul Azeez both decisions of the Kerala State Commission, Air India Ltd. v. India Everbright Shipping & Trading Co.; E.N. Sreeriathan v. Air India; Egypt Air v. Sai Leelavathy. The counsel of the opposite parties have also pointed out that only in UK the monetary equivalent of the amount in Francs has been reduced into statutory terms vide the Carriage by Air (Sterling. equivalence) order 1999. As per the above, the equivalent of 5000 Francs is 281.56 pounds which would be approximately Rs. 22,400. Hence according to the counsel, the amount of 20 US Dollars as equivalent of 250 Francs is an internationally accepted conversion rate.

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