16 years after Air India lost flier's bag, airline told to compensate him
02 Apr, 2014 12:12 PM
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission recently directed national carrier Air India (AI) to pay a compensation of Rs50,000 to a Mahim resident, whose bag the airline lost in 1998. Also, AI didn't issue a certificate, confirming loss of baggage, for 16 years, thus denying the passenger any claim from the insurance company, the forum observed.

A bench of president RC Chavan and member Usha S Thakare directed AI to compensate Rajesh Lobo. The bench observed, "Considering that almost 16 years have passed, since the claim first arose, we award a global compensation of Rs50,000, including interest and costs, to the complainant."

AM Mascarenhas of Consumer Welfare Association, who argued for Lobo, said, "The bag was lost at London airport on October 23, 1998, when the complainant was visiting his relatives there. Despite repeated inquiries by him with the airline, there was no positive response. Hence, we moved the consumer forum."

On September 29, 2006, the forum, partially allowing the plea, directed AI to issue the certificate to the complainant. Mascarenhas, however, said, "Since there was no order passed vis-à-vis compensation, we appealed against it in the state commission." During the pendency of the appeal, New India Insurance Company, which had insured the complainant, paid Lobo Rs61,590, equivalent to $1,000, as compensation in October 2013.

However, Mascarenhas argued that AI had not been made to pay any compensation to Lobo for the harassment caused over eight years until the consumer forum order directing it to give him the lost baggage certificate.

Accordingly, the forum said, "Had the certificate been issued immediately upon the loss being reported, the appellant would have been compensated by the insurance company way back. If the appellant (had) been paid in the year 1998 itself, the purchasing power of rupee would have been high... merely because the appellant has been paid (an) equivalent of $1,000 in Indian currency now, it does not follow that the respondent no.1, Air India, is not required to pay any further compensation."
Source : Dna

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