IndiGo, AAI get ₹1.35­lakh sting over mos­qui­toes in plane

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Punjab & Haryana - Sur­jit Singh sur­jit.singh@htlive.com

AM­RIT­SAR: The dis­trict con­sumer dis­putes re­dres­sal fo­rum here has fined Gur­gaon-based pri­vate air­line IndiGo and Air­port Au­thor­ity of In­dia (AAI) ₹1.35 lakh for pos­ing risk to the health of pas­sen­gers due to the pres­ence of mos­qui­toes in air­craft.

Pro­nounc­ing the judg­ment un­der sec­tions 12 and 13 of the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act, 1986, on com­plaints by three city-based lawyers, the fo­rum has di­rected both the par­ties (IndiGo and AAI) to pay ₹30,000 and lit­i­ga­tion ex­penses of ₹10,000 to each of the com­plainants. Also, they have also been di­rected to de­posit ₹5,000 for each com­plaint in the con­sumer le­gal aid ac­count of the fo­rum.

A panel of pre­sid­ing mem­ber Anoop Sharma and mem­ber Rachna Arora pro­nounced the judg­ment on Septem­ber 5.

Ad­vo­cate Deepin­der Singh, one of the com­plainants, said they lodged the com­plaint with the fo­rum on May 29 through their coun­sel. Other com­plainants are Sukhan­deep Singh and Updip Singh, who were trou­bled by mos­qui­toes on April 4 this year while trav­el­ling from Delhi to Am­rit­sar on an IndiGo flight.

“Indigo claims to pro­vide best and ef­fi­cient ser­vices to its cus­tomers, and AAI keeps a check on the hy­giene and safety of the pas­sen­gers in­side the planes as well as on the air­ports. They charge air­port fee which is part of air ticket price,” said Deepin­der.

He said, “We boarded the Indigo plane (flight No. 6E 2894) from T2 Ter­mi­nal of Indira Gandhi In­ter­na­tional Air­port, New Delhi. While en­ter­ing the air­craft, we spot­ted a num­ber of mos­qui­toes. When we com­plained to the staff, they showed help­less­ness. In­stead of tak­ing any re­me­dial mea­sures, they said it was a mi­nor is­sue and flies or mos­qui­toes in­side the flight were a rou­tine af­fair. They said fu­mi­ga­tion of the plane is not pos­si­ble ev­ery­time it takes off.”

He said other pas­sen­gers also com­plained but it was of no use. “We im­me­di­ately wrote an email to the cus­tomer care of the com­pany cit­ing that mos­qui­toes were a dan­ger to pas­sen­gers’ health. Af­ter reach­ing Am­rit­sar, we, along with other pas­sen­gers, com­plained to the air­port au­thor­ity, but no­body took cog­ni­sance,” he said.

IndiGo in its state­ment be­fore the fo­rum had said, “While all rea­son­able steps are un­der­taken to avoid such in­stances, the en­try of in­sects or flies can­not be com­pletely guarded against”.

On the other hand, the AAI did not opt to ap­pear de­spite no­tice. The fo­rum didn’t find the re­sponse sat­is­fac­tory, ob­serv­ing “gross de­fi­ciency in the ser­vice to pas­sen­gers and un­fair trade prac­tice that caused lot of agony and ha­rass­ment to the com­plainants”.

Il­lus­tra­tion: BISWAJIT DEBNATH/HT

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