A Delhi court has dismissed a plea seeking over Rs five lakh damages from Air India for denying boarding passes to some passengers and rescheduling the flight due to bad weather, saying no negligence can be attributed to the airline as circumstances were beyond its control.
The court said the plaintiffs have failed to bring any evidence to substantiate and establish the negligence by the airline as alleged by them and no proof of any financial loss or details of mental agony has been placed on record.
“I hereby hold the plaintiffs have miserably failed to prove any breach of duty on the part of defendant airline (Air India) and have failed to prove that any damages have been suffered by them.
“I further hold plaintiff has miserably failed to prove any loss or damages or financial loss caused to him or to the other plaintiffs,” Additional District Judge Kamini Lau said.
The court said the evidence establishes that due to weather conditions there was cancellation and re-routing of flights on December 31, 2006 resulting in change of aircraft on January 1, 2007 and clubbing of passengers of two flights.
It said the delay in departure of flight IC 622 was due to technical fault and inclement weather conditions and “hence no negligence or default can be attributed to the airline since all circumstances were beyond its control”.
The court was deciding the suit filed by Delhi residents– advocate Jagdeep Singh Bakshi, General Secretary of Delhi Petrol Pump Dealers Association Anil Bijlani and Chartered Accountant Ashok Kumar Sardana seeking Rs 5 lakh compensation from the airline towards mental agony, trauma, suffering and financial loss undergone by them.
They said they had booked tickets with the airline through an agent from Delhi to Mumbai for January 1, 2007 and on reaching the airport, they were denied boarding passes.
They claimed that the airline staff asked them to either take refund or adjust them in another flight which was scheduled to depart after few hours. They took the second option as it was important for them to reach Mumbai.
The plaintiffs alleged that next flight was also delayed and no airline staff was available to answer their queries.
They claimed when they boarded the next flight, it was announced that the weather conditions were bad and flight was cancelled and later on another aircraft took off.
They alleged that due to the delay, they reached Mumbai quite late and their meeting could not take place and they suffered harassment, mental agony and financial loss.
The court, in its order, said that the plaintiffs have failed to place on record any document to prove that a case was listed at the Bombay High Court on January 2, 2007 for which they were travelling to Mumbai.
It said there was nothing on record to prove the airline did not take due care and has failed in any of its duties.
“Rather, on the contrary the plaintiffs were admittedly immediately offered the option of refund in ticket price or alternatively an accommodation in next flight and they opted for the said option and were issued boarding pass for the next flight which establishes that the standard practice under the given circumstances was adopted,” the court said.
It said the witnesses confirmed that the airline took necessary care of the passengers whose flight was delayed which included the plaintiffs who were provided with lunch free of cost.