Supreme Court Upholds NCDRC’s Order: Air India to Compensate Passenger Rs 2.03 Lakh for Baggage Loss

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Published on: 27 July 2023 at 12:37 IST

The Supreme Court, in a recent ruling, declined to interfere with the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission’s (NCDRC) order, affirming the State Commission and District Forum’s directions to Air India to pay Rs 2.03 lakh as compensation to a passenger who lost his luggage during travel.

The division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rajesh Bindal dismissed Air India’s appeal against the NCDRC’s order. The court stated, “In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case, we are not inclined to interfere with the order impugned herein under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.”

Earlier, on 7th February 2023, the NCDRC dismissed Air India’s appeal and directed the airline to pay the remaining 50% compensation out of the total Rs 2.03 lakh to the complainant, who had lost his luggage.

The NCDRC had previously granted a stay and directed Air India to deposit 50% of the compensation awarded by the district forum, a decision later upheld by the state forum. Since the airline had already deposited 50% of the compensation, the NCDRC ordered the payment of the balance amount to the complainant.

The case was filed by Tushar Kothari, the complainant, after he lost one of his bags while traveling from Nagpur to Goa on an Air India flight. The district and state commissions ruled in favor of the complainant, directing Air India to compensate him.

Mr. Kothari and his family members had purchased Air India tickets to attend a wedding ceremony in Goa, with a stopover in Mumbai, departing from Nagpur.

The airline examined 16 bags belonging to Mr. Kothari and his family and issued boarding passes accordingly. However, upon reaching their destination, only 15 bags were received, as one bag had been misplaced during the journey.

Despite assurances from Air India that they would locate the bag, it remained untraceable. The airline offered a compensation of Rs 3,600, calculated at the rate of Rs. 450 per kg for the missing bag. However, the complainant submitted bills worth Rs 2.03 lakh for the articles purchased for the wedding stored in the bag that went missing.

Air India contended that, as per the provisions of the Citizens Charter/Contract of Carriage Rule 1972 on Domestic Travel & Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (Ministry of Civil Aviation), the complainant was required to declare the value of the articles in the misplaced bag.

The district forum held the airline liable for deficiency in service and directed payment of compensation, a decision later upheld by the state and national forums.

The Supreme Court, in its recent ruling, upheld the NCDRC’s order, concluding the legal proceedings in the matter.

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