Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 31
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, has directed Air India to pay compensation to a city resident for causing mental harassment by denying her boarding pass at the airport despite having a valid ticket. The commission also directed the airline to refund a sum of Rs17,377, which was charged extra for issuing a fresh ticket for the next day, to the complainant.
Kamla Rani (61), a resident of Sector 22, Chandigarh, in a complaint filed before the commission through counsel Atul Goyal, said she booked a ticket with Air India for Australia on July 16, 2018 after paying a sum of Rs91,085. She alleged that after reaching the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, Air India staff refused to issue her boarding pass despite having a valid ticket. It was only after repeated requests, the airline decided to issue a fresh ticket for the next day on charging an additional amount of Rs17,377.
After the visit, alleging that the acts of the airline in charging an additional amount of Rs17,377 tantamount to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice, the complainant filed a complaint under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, seeking relief.
The commission said a notice was sent to the airline seeking its version of the case. However, nobody appeared on behalf of the airline despite service. Therefore, it was proceeded ex-parte on July 15, 2021.
The commission, in the order, said: “The airline did not appear to contest the claim of the complainant and preferred to proceed against ex-parte. This act of the airline draws an adverse inference against it. Non-appearance of the airline shows that it has nothing to say in its defence against the allegations made by the complainant”.
The commission said the airline failed to issue the boarding pass in spite of the complainant having a valid ticket and visa. Rather, an amount of Rs17,377 was charged additionally for issuing a fresh ticket for the next day from the complainant, without there being any valid explanation/justification.
The commission said the airline had certainly and definitely indulged in unfair trade practice as it ought to have not charged additional amount from the complainant, and propelled this unwarranted, uncalled litigation upon the complainant. In view of this, the airline was directed to refund Rs17,377, pay Rs5,000 as compensation for causing mental agony and harassment and 5,000 as cost of litigation to the complainant.
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