Decided on July 30,2008



K.SAMPATH, J. - (1.) The 2nd opposite party in OP No. 377/2003 on the file of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (North) is the appellant herein. The case of the complainants was as follows: - They had bought to & fro tickets to USA from the 2nd opposite party through the 1st opposite party on 8/8/2002 for Rs.1,60,160/-. The return tickets were valid upto 8/2/2003. The 1st complainant who had undergone a bypass surgery could not withstand the cold weather in USA. He suffered chest pain. In such circumstances, the complainants wanted to return to India as early as possible. They approached the 2nd opposite party in USA to confirm the ticket for any date in the last week of November. They were told that seats were not available upto January 2003. The complainants had to make arrangements with North West Airlines on 1/12/2002 for returning to India. When the 1st opposite party was contacted, the complainants were told that refund would be possible on medical grounds and a sum of Rs.4,000/- would be deducted as cancellation charges. The complainants agreed for the same and sent the necessary documents to the 1st opposite party on 9/1/2003. The 2nd opposite party repudiated the claim on 2/4/2003 on the ground that the particular fare superseded the conditions of contract and that the refund on partially used tickets was not possible even on medical grounds. The complainants requested the 2nd opposite party to send particulars to show how and by what means the tariff conditions of a particular fare superseded the general conditions of contract of carriage. The 2nd opposite party did not give clear particulars for the query raised by the complainants. In these circumstances, the complaint came to be filed for a direction to the opposite parties to refund Rs.80,080/-.
(2.) The 1st opposite party filed a version stating as follows: - The name of the 1st opposite party had not been properly reflected in the cause title. The complaint was liable to be dismissed for that reason. It was not correct to say that the complainants contacted the 1st opposite party and that she said that refund was possible. The 1st opposite party did not give any such assurance. Clause 11 of the contract which formed part of the ticket clearly stipulated that no agent, servant or representative of the carrier had any authority to alter, modify or waive the provisions of the contract. The tickets issued to the complainants clearly specified that it was valid for travel on LH-UA only. The complainants had travelled by a different Airlines and as such they were not entitled to refund. The refund of money against unused ticket lay only within the discretion of the 2nd opposite party. The claim against the 1st opposite party was liable to be dismissed.
(3.) The 2nd opposite party filed a version stating that the complainants had not come to the Forum with clean hands. They had obtained discounted tickets. There could be no refund of partially used tickets. After having availed the benefit of discounted fare under a special scheme the complainants were estopped from questioning the terms and conditions of the special scheme. The complaint was bad for mis-joinder of parties. The complainants did not approach the 2nd opposite party in USA. Their letter was properly responded on 28/1/2003. The ticket jacket had been used and could be used by any travel agent for issuance of tickets of all international airlines and as such the conditions of contract of carriage mentioned were applicable only in the broader sense. It was specifically stated on the ticket jacket that individual tariff conditions of a particular fare of an airline superseded those conditions. The entire story of medical ailment was cooked-up solely to give a different colour to the entire controversy and to gain unjust enrichment.;

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