NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
(From the order dated 20.12.2002 in Appeal Nos. 247 of 2002 and 308 of 2002
of the State Commission, Chandigarh)
Air India Petitioner
Harpreet Singh & others Respondent
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE D.P. WADHWA,
MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER.
MR. B.K. TAIMNI, MEMBER.
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE K.S. GUPTA, MEMBER
Agent - Air India Member of IATA agent also member of IATA held agent will be of air India.
For the petitioner : Mr. V.B. Joshi, Advocate
M/s M.V. Kini & Co.
O R D E R
DATED THE 2ND MAY, 2003
JUSTICE D.P. WADHWA, J.(PRESIDENT).
Air India who is the petitioner before us was opposite party No.2 before the District Forum in a complaint filed by respondent Nos.1 & 2 being the father and son. M/s Grand Travel Planners (P) Ltd. who is the 3rd respondent before us was respondent No.1 before the District Forum.
The complaint was that in spite of having a confirmed ticket of Air India issued by the Travel Agent Harpreet Singh was denied boarding. District Forum held that there was deficiency in service and awarded Rs.15,000/- as compensation and had also awarded Rs.4,000/- as travel expenses from Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), Delhi to Connaught Place Offices of the Air India and then from IGIA to Domestic Airport. Complainant had claimed expenses for mental agony and physical harassment. In all, District Forum awarded Rs.19,000/- to the complainant and in case the amount was not paid within one month from the date of receipt of the order, it will carry interest @ 9% per annum from that date. A sum of Rs.1,000/- was also awarded as litigation cost to the complainant. Aggrieved from this order of the District Forum, both the Air India and the Travel Agent filed separate appeals in the Chandigarh Union Territory. Both these appeals were dismissed by the State Commission with cost of Rs.250/- each.
As stated above, the Air India still feels aggrieved and has come before us in this petition under Section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Two points have been raised before us - (1) that travel agent was not the agent of Air India thought he was agent of IATA (International Air Transport Association) and (2) ticket was not re-confirmed by the passenger. Both these points are without substance. Travel agent was the accredited agent of IATA of which Air India is a Member. An argument that Air India could not suffer for the fault of the agent is against the basic principles of law particularly against the provisions of the Contract Act. Air India is certainly liable for the negligence of its agent. Ticket was purchased on 23.2.1999 and Harpreet Singh, the passenger, was to take the flight on 25.2.1999, within 72 hours of purchase of the okay ticket. There was no question of any re-confirmation when travel agent had issued a ticket with confirmed status. Harpreet Singh was to join university in Sydney on 1.3.1999 for higher studies. We have not been shown any condition requiring confirmation in a case like the present one.
Then it is submitted before us that the agent did not pass on the information to Air India and did not indicate the ticket number within the stipulated period with the result that Air India had cancelled the ticket after expiry of the time limit for not providing the ticket number. Then the fact remains that the ticket was sold by the travel agent and it was confirmed by Central Reservation System (SABRE) of Air India. In any case complainant is not concerned with the interse functioning of the travel agent and the air carrier when travel agent is the agent of the carrier.
We do not find any ground to interfere with the order of the District Forum as also of the State Commission. This Revision Petition is dismissed.