Three airlines to pay Rs 22L to businessman

Three airlines to pay Rs 22L to businessman

Royal Jordanian Airlines, Czechoslovak Airlines (now Czech Airlines) and Jet Airways have been directed by the apex consumer court to jointly pay compensation and interest of Rs 22 lakh to a Delhi-based exporter for deficiency in service while delivering a consignment of garments to Bratislava, Slovakia.

“The respondents were guilty of deficiency in service in dispatching and delivering the goods in contravention of the terms and conditions as agreed between the parties,” said National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission president Ashok Bhan and members Vineeta Rai and S M Kanitkar.

Upholding the plea of Hira Lall and Son (Exports) Pvt Ltd, Karol Bagh, the top consumer court said: “We direct the respondents to jointly pay the appellant nine per cent interest on the awarded amount of Rs 10 lakh from the date of filing the complaint (April 7,1994) till November 29, 2008.”

The order mentions Czechoslovak Airlines, which it was named when the complaint was filed. It assumed its present avatar in May 1995, two years after the erstwhile Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The exporter said in its complaint that its contract with the airline had an important provision that the consignment, worth Rs 9.73 lakh, could only be delivered to the named consignee, which was a bank in Bratislava since the responsibility to ensure payment to the appellant for the consignment was with the bank.

However, the respondents failed to fulfill the provision. “The airlines instead delivered the goods directly to consignee Penta Trade without any authorisation from the consignee or from the appellant and, therefore, the delivery of goods was in contravention of the terms of the contract and amounted to deficiency in service,” said the complaint.

The Delhi State Commission ruled in favour of the exporter and awarded Rs 10 lakh compensation. But the exporter moved the national commission for seeking interest on the awarded amount.

“The contention of the counsel for the exporter is that it was a clear breach of the term of the contract between the parties as wherever foreign buyers are involved, the shipper has to take extra caution and care in delivering the consignment as it becomes difficult for the exporter in this country to get the payment of the consignment from the foreign buyer,” said the national commission.