NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
REVISION PETITION NO. 1411 OF 2015
(Against the Order dated 07/04/2015 in Appeal No. 24/2014 of the State Commission Tripura)
1. SPICEJET LTD. & 2 ORS.
REDPRESENTED BY ITS CHIEF EXECUIVE OFFICE
319, UDYOG VIHAR, PHASE-IV
2. THE STATION MANAGER,
SPICEJET, KOLKATA, HAVING HIS OFFICE AT:
NETAJI SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, KOLKATA AIRPORT
3. THE STATION MANAGER SPICEJET LTD,
AGARTALA AIRPORT, NARSINGARH, P.S.
1. DR. ATANU GHOSH
S/O SH. DHRIENDRA KUMAR GHOSH, R/O
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE J.M. MALIK, PRESIDING MEMBER
HON’BLE DR. S.M. KANTIKAR, MEMBER
For the Petitioner : Mr. Maibam N. Singh, Advocate
For the Respondent :
Dated : 23 Nov 2015
JUSTICE J.M. MALIK, PRESIDING MEMBER
1. Both the fora below have granted compensation in favour of Dr.Atanu Ghosh, the complainant, in the sum of Rs.50,000/- because, out of five registered ‘check-in’ baggages, one was missing and could not be traced out. A complaint was lodged with the officials of SpiceJet, Kolkata. FIR was lodged with the police. It is explained that the said baggage contained goods, such as Sony Video camera, Sony Cyber shot digital camera, cosmetics and clothes, valued at Rs.90,000/-.
2. We have heard the counsel for the SpiceJet Ltd. & Others. The learned counsel for the petitioner vehemently argued that the compensation should have been given as per the rules. He has filed a copy of the terms of carriage issued under the Caption “Low-cost Air travel, International flight Tickets from India, Cheap Airline Tickets India / SpiceJet Airlines”. In the middle of the page, it mentions, as under :-
“The Carrier’s liability for loss or damage to baggage is limited to Rs.200/- per kg with a maximum of Rs.3,000/- only. The carrier assumes no or perishable articles”.
3. Counsel for the petitioner has also filed Chapter XI – Notification regarding application of the carriage by Air Act, 1972, To Carriage by Air which is not international. In this Booklet, there is Chapter II under the caption “Documents of Carriage”. Section 11 runs, as follows:-
“11 (1) The air-way bill, if any, is prima facie evidence of the conclusion of the contract of the receipt of the cargo and the conditions of carriage”.
Section 19, runs as follows:
“In the absence of a contract to the contrary, the carrier is not to be liable for damage occasioned by delay in the carriage by air of passengers, baggage or cargo”.
Section 22 (2)(a) is also reproduced, as under :-
“In the carriage of registered baggage and of cargo, the liability of the carrier is limited to a sum of Rupees two hundred per kilogram, unless the passenger or consignor has made, at the time when the package was handed over to the carrier, a special declaration of interest in delivery at destination and has paid a supplementary sum if the case so requires. In that case, the carrier will be liable to pay sum not exceeding the declared sum, unless he proves that, that sum is greater than the passenger’s or consignor’s actual interest in delivery at destination”.
4. Counsel for the petitioner has also cited a judgment of this Commission reported in Egypt Air Vs. Saileelavathi, II (2006) CPJ 43 (NC), wherein, it was held that liability of carrier USD 20 per kilo, subject to maximum of 20 kgs was accepted. Payment of Rs.30,000/- was awarded in that case.
5. All these arguments have left no impression upon us. The consumer court is bound to take the ‘down to earth’ view. It must be borne in mind that a hand-baggage/attache, without any contents, itself costs about Rs.9,000/- to Rs.10,000/-. The statement made by the complainant clearly mentions that the said luggage contained goods worth Rs.90,000/-.
6. The State Commission has mentioned that the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Consumers & Citizens Forum Vs. Karnataka Power Corporation, 1994 (1) CPR 130 , has laid down that the provisions of this Act give the ‘consumer’, additional remedies, besides, those they may be available under other existing laws. The Apex Court’s above authority was followed in case titled as Emirates Vs. Dr. Rakesh Chopra by this Commission in First Appeal No. 204 of 2008 decided on 11 th April 2013 , wherein it was held:-
“In the instant case, no doubt the Appellant Airlines had sought to settle the consumer’s grievance purely in terms of the notional monetary loss suffered by him as per the relevant provisions of Carriage by Air Act, 1972. However, as discussed earlier, because there was deficiency in service on the part of Appellant Airlines in losing and mishandling the Respondent’s luggage, which caused him harassment, agony, mental tension and loss of professional face apart from monetary loss, he is entitled to compensation for this deficiency in service on Appellant’s part as per the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Keeping in view these facts, the State Commission has awarded a compensation of Rs.2.00 Lakhs. We see no reason to disagree with the compensation awarded, which, we feel, is fully justified under the circumstances”.
7. In the instant case, the deficiency on the part of the petitioners stands established. The compensation already granted by the Fora below is on the lower side. We, therefore, dismiss the revision petition with costs of Rs.10,000/- U/s 26 of C.P. Act. The said amount of Rs.10,000/- be paid by the petitioners, to the respondent/complainant, within 30 days’, from the date of receipt of copy of this order, otherwise, it will carry interest @ 9% p.a., till realization. The order passed by the District Forum is confirmed.
DR. S.M. KANTIKAR