SC notice to Aviation Ministry on plea to refund ticket

SC notice to Civil Aviation Ministry on plea to refund flight tickets

According to petitioner's counsel Jose Abraham the bench observed that the policy of non refund was arbitrary

A view of the SC (PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Union government on a plea for a direction to the domestic and international flight operators to refund full amount of ticket of the flights cancelled due to lockdown. 

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and B R Gavai issued notice to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on the PIL by NGO 'Pravasi Legal Cell'.

According to petitioner's counsel Jose Abraham the bench observed that the policy of non refund was arbitrary. The hearing was conducted through video conferencing.

 

The NGO said the Ministry of Civil Aviation's order issued on April 16 directing the airlines to refund only those tickets that were booked during the lockdown period and left out the vast majority of passengers who had booked tickets before the flights were banned, was like treating the equals unequally in violation of fundamental rights of citizens.

"The present policy is extremely harsh on the ordinary passengers who booked tickets in advance for travelling," it said.

The petitioner contended that the action on the part of the airlines in not refunding the full amount collected for the tickets due to the cancellation of flights in the wake of restrictions imposed to contain COVID-19 was arbitrary and in violation of the Civil Aviation requirement issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

"The airline companies instead of showing humanitarian virtues, are rather seeing these challenging times as an opportunity to extract unlawful gains from the people who are already in misery due to uncertainties," it claimed.