Qatar Airways

Mrs. M. Meena
Old No.2, New No.3,
7th Main Road, Complainant
Raja Annamalai Puram,
G-2, Land Marvel, Laxmi Niwas,
Chennai – 600 028.

Vs

Managing Director,
Qatar Airways, Opposite party
# 576 Moh Building, 1st Floor
Anna Salai, Teynampet,
Chennai – 600 006.

Date of Complaint : 08.01.2008

The complainant : In person

M/s. Mulla & Mulla & Craigie Blunt & : Advocates for opposite party
Caroe
O R D E R
THIRU. P. ROSIAH, PRESIDENT

Complaint filed under section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

1.[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]The case of the complainant is briefly as follows:

The complainant had booked three round trip tickets in Qatar Airways from Chennai to Bahrain on 07.05.2007 through Baywatch Travels and got confirmed e-tickets both for onward journey on 08.05.2007 and return trip on 30.05.2007. The confirmed e-tickets had no clause of confirmation. The complainant and her children traveled from Chennai to Bahrain on 08.05.2007 without prior confirmation but she along with hr children reached Bahrain Airports on 30.05.2007 well in time and fund that the Opposite party has cancelled all confirmed tickets on the ground that no reconfirmation for the booking was not done on 72 hours prior to the date of departure. The complainant had paid in advance for confirmed tickets and in the absence of any clause contained in the tickets regarding reconfirmation before 72 hours prior to the date of departure. The cancellation of tickets amounts to deficiency in service. The opposite party refunded only Rs.26,400/- after deducting 40% of the fare. Though the complainant had paid Rs.44,500/- one month in advance. Hence, the complainant filed this complaint for refund of the total amount paid(Rs.44,500/-) , compensation of Rs.1 lakh for mental agony and Rs.20,000/- being the cost of the complaint.
2. The opposite party filed version and contended inter alia that the tickets were cancelled in Bahrain, outside India hence this Forum has no territorial jurisdiction to try this case. As per Warsaw Convention all passengers must be reconfirmed the return journey before 72 hours prior to the date of departure in the even of their return journey being undertaken after break/gap of 72 hours and failure to do so results in automatic cancellation of all tickets and reservations. As the complainant had not reconfirmed the tickets 72 hours prior to the date of departure the reservation tickets were cancelled. Hence, there is no deficiency in service on the part of the opposite party. The ticket amount was refunded as per rules of the Company.
3. Proof affidavits have been filed by both the complainant and the opposite party. Exhibits A1 to A5 were marked on the side of the complainant. No documents were marked on the side of the opposite party.
4. The points that arise for consideration are;-
1) Whether this Forum has territorial jurisdiction to try this
complaint?.
2) Whether there is any deficiency in service on the part of
the opposite party?
3) To what relief the complainant is entitled to?
5. Point Nos.1 & 2 : Admittedly, the complainant had purchased three round trip tickets in the Qatar Airways from Chennai to Bahrain on 07.05.2007. She got confirmed e-tickets both the onward journey on 08.05.2007 and return trip on 30.05.2007. She had traveled from Chennai to Bahrain on 08.05.2007 along with her children. But, when she reached Bahrain Airport on 30.05.2007 to reach Chennai well in advance she was informed that all the tickets were cancelled by the Opposite party on the ground that the reconfirmation of the ticket was not done by the complainant 72 hours prior to the date of departure. She was made to suffer at the Airport and booked tickets through Air Arabia and reached Chennai. When the complainant asked for refund of the ticket money, the opposite party refunded only Rs.26,400/- being the 60% of the ticket amount after deducting of 40%. Hence, the complainant has filed this complaint claiming full ticket amount and compensation.
6. Per contra, the contention of the opposite party is that the complainants is not entitled to full refund of the ticket amount and that as per the Warsaw Convention, the passengers must reconfirm the return journey 72 hours prior to the date of departure in the even of return journey being undertaken after break/gap of 72 hours. The complainant did not conf8irm the ticket to her return journey hence their tickets were cancelled. It was further contended by the Opposite party their tickets were cancelled at Bahrain out side India therefore this Forum has no territorial jurisdiction.
7. Admittedly, the complainant had booked e-tickets only from Chennai therefore a part of cause of action arises at Chennai. Hence this Forum has territorial jurisdiction to entertain this complaint. Secondly, in Ex A1 tickets purchased by the complainant were not shown that the reconfirmation must be done 72 hours prior to the date of departure in case of journey being undertaken after break/gap of 72 hours. The Opposite party would state that Warsaw Convention required such mandate. The opposite party cannot expect the passengers like the complainant to know about the Warsaw Convention if reconfirmation is necessary 72 hours prior to the date of journey in the event of return journey being undertaken after break/gap of 72 hours. It is the duty of the Opposite party to mention either in the ticket or separate instructions should be given to the passengers. Merely quoting Warsaw Convention they cannot escape liability. The Consumer Fora follow the principles of natural justice and redress the grievances of the consumers when they were made to suffer after receiving consideration by the service provider. Hence there is deficiency in service on the part of the Opposite party.
8. Point No.3: In the result, the complaint is allowed. The opposite party is directed to refund the balance amount of the tickets paid by the complainant and to pay compensation of Rs.10,000/- with cost of Rs.3,000/- to the complainant within six weeks from the date of receipt of copy of this order, failing which the amount shall carry interest at the rate of 9% per annum till the date of payment.

Comments

  • adv.sumitadv.sumit Senior Member
    edited October 2009
    Piyush Kant Jain, Additional Advocate General, Punjab, permanent resident of H.No.215, Rani Jhansi Road, Civil Lines, Ludhiana.



    …..Complainant.

    Versus



    1- Qatar Airways through its Branch Manger, Ground Floor, Dr. Gopal Dass Bhawan, 28, Barakhamba Road, Cannaught Place, New Delhi-110001.

    2- Airnet Travels & Cargo Pvt. Ltd., through its Managing Director, 4th Floor, SCO-140, Feroze Gandhi Market, Ludhiana-141001.



    …..Opposite parties.









    O R D E R





    1- Complainant, a senior practicing lawyer and at the moment, holding the post of Additional Advocate General, Punjab, booked air ticket on 25.4.2008, to travel to & fro Delhi-Washington-Delhi, through opposite party no.2, for flight no.QR-233 of Qatar Airways, opposite party no.1, leaving Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, on 6th may, 2008 to Doha, with departure time as 0.500 and arrival at Doha as 0.620. Consequently, was to take connected flight no.QR-51 of opposite party no.1 from Doha to Washington on 6th May, 2008, with departure at 10.45 and arriving at Washington at 18.05 on 6th May, 2008. Opposite party no.2 charged complainant, a sum of Rs.48,859/- for issuing the ticket of airways.


    At the same time, also paid a sum of Rs.10,043/- to opposite party no.2, for his night stay at Hotel Holiday Inn at Washington, for the night of 6th May, 2008. Complainant planned visit to Washington, when his professional services were engaged by his client named Dr. Mohinder Sambhi, a native of Ludhiana, settled at Los Angles, California, USA (Hereinafter, to be described as “NRI”). The NRI had pending litigation at Ludhiana, for which, had engaged the complainant, as counsel. The NRI, in connection with function at the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins University, Washington, was to come to Washington on 9-10th May, 2008. Consequently, the NRI fixed meeting with the complainant on 6th evening and 7th morning of May, 2008 at Washington.


    Because of his indifferent health and busy schedule in USA, the NRI was unable to undertake long journey to India, as a result, asked his counsel, complainant, to come for consultation to the USA, to meet him on 6th-7th, May, 2008. Because on 9-10th of May, 2008, he was to remain busy in function of the university. Consequently, complainant reached New Delhi from Ludhiana on 5th May, 2008 and reported at International Airport, Delhi, 3 hours before departure of flight time at 5.00 a.m. on 6th May, 2008, to Doha. The flight was to reach at Doha at 6.20 hrs (Doha time) and connected flight was scheduled to depart at 10.45 (Doha time) and arrival time in Washington, was 18.05(USA time) on 6th May, 2008.


    After all security and immigration checks, the complainant alongwith other passengers waited for the usual time and at 4.30 a.m., announcement of departure of the flight of opposite party no.1 at 5.00 a.m., was made. Complainant alongwith other passengers boarded the flight and was made to sit in the aeroplane, without any further announcement, when it would take off. The passengers after boarding the aeroplane, were not permitted to go out and everybody remained sitting inside the plane. The staff of the aeroplane was unable to disclose any cause of delay in taking off the aeroplane. As such, the complainant and other passengers were made to sit and wait inside the aeroplane, for 6 long hours, under stress and strain.


    The aircraft finally took off for Doha at 11.00 a.m. and as such, the flight started 6 hours late from its scheduled time of 5.00 a.m. By the time, flight reached Doha, his connected flight from the airlines of opposite party no.1 from Doha to Washington, USA, had already left at its scheduled time 10.45 a.m.(Doha time). Flight from New Delhi reached Doha at 12.00 p.m.(Doha time).Consequently, complainant missed the connected flight QR-51 from Doha to Washington. The complainant consequently, was forced to stay in Doha for 24 hours, without any change of clothes, causing discomfort and harassment to him, as his baggage wasn’t released by the airlines and it remained under the check-in condition. Due to such delay, complainant lost a complete one day from out of his planned schedule. He was provided flight at 10.45 a.m. on 7th May, 2008, from Doha to Washington, vide plane no.QR-51, which reached Washington on the evening of 7th May, 2008 at 6.05 p.m.


    Due to delay in reaching Washington, there was loss of two important meetings of the complainant, scheduled with his NRI client, on the evening of 6th May and morning of 7th May, 2008, which caused great mental stress and physical harassment to the complainant. This act on part of opposite party, by filing the present complaint u/s 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, is claimed amounting to omission and commission, equivalent to deficiency in service on part of opposite party. So, complainant claimed that this delay caused professional loss of $ 2000(equivalent to Rs.1 lac) and also loss of hotel booking charges Rs.10,043/-, for which, is entitled to claim.


    Also claimed for suffering harassment, discomfort, physical discomfiture, great mental torture, a sum of $ 10,000(equivalent to Rs.5 lacs) and sought a sum totaling Rs.6,10,000/- from opposite party, by serving legal notice dated 3.6.2008, which they replied vide reply dated 6th June, 2008 through their counsel and also e-mail, intimating that they are inquiring the matter and will send detailed reply, but thereafter, no response was received from opposite party, except another e-mail dated 8th June, 2008, offering mere $ 250, as miscellaneous charges order, valid for one year, to be utilized only for Qatar Airlines services in future within 3 months. The said offer was, as such, illegal and tantamount to the mockery of the service provider, exhibiting the callous approach towards their consumer. Hence, claimed compensation of Rs.6.10 lacs alongwith litigation costs of Rs.15,000/- from the opposite party.

    2- Opposite party no.1-Qatar Airways pleaded in reply that this Fora has no jurisdiction, to try the complaint. However, they feigned ignorance about status or profession of the complainant. But have not disputed booking of tickets in their flights by the complainant, for 6th May, 2008, from New Delhi to Doha and Doha to Washington. Admitted that flight from Delhi could not depart at scheduled time of 5.00 a.m. on 6th May, 2008. According to them, it happened due to technical reasons/technical snag, which was unforeseen and beyond control of airways.


    The delay never occurred due to any negligence, fault, carelessness or deficiency in service on part of opposite party. Nor staff of the airlines talked in blunt manner to the passengers including the complainant and they were not non-cooperative and unfriendly. As flight was delayed from Delhi, so arrived late at Doha, resulting in misconnection of flight to Washington, no.QR-51 at 10.45 a.m.(Doha time) on 6th May, 2008. Despite knowing delay in departure, complainant preferred to travel in that flight from Delhi. No mental or physical discomfiture or harassment was suffered by the complainant, but conceded that baggage of the complainant at Doha, could not be given to him, as it was checked-in upto Washington.


    Hence, no blame for not giving his baggage at Doha, can be attributed to the airlines. No important meeting was lost by the complainant, due to negligence or carelessness of the airlines. Neither any financial loss was suffered, due to hotel booking by the complainant. Also, there was no professional loss to him, due to missing of meeting with his client. Complainant is not entitled for any compensation. Offer of $ 250 was made on the basis of goodwill and not due to any liability, either contractual or legally. Complainant has no cause of action, nor he was harassed due to any act of opposite party.

    3- Opposite party no.2 initially appeared through its director, but failed to file reply and subsequently, absented and is being proceeded exparte.

    4- Complainant and opposite party no.1 have led evidence and stood heard through their respective counsels.

    5- The matter requiring determination from us, lies within a very short compass. It is whether due to delay in departure of the scheduled flight from Delhi to Doha, of opposite party, complainant suffered physically, mentally and monetary, entitling him to any compensation.

    6- Be it stated that aforesaid aspect stand cropped up in the light of many admitted aspects. The admitted aspects or points are as under:-

    (i) That opposite party no.2-Airnet Travels, works as agent for Qatar Airways (opposite party no.1) and opposite party no.2 have its office at Ludhiana.

    (ii) That on 25.4.2008, complainant booked air ticket for travel to and fro Delhi-Washington-Delhi, for Qatar Airways Flight No.QR-233, leaving on 6th May, 2008 from Delhi to Doha, with departure at 0.500 a.m., with arrival time in Doha at 06.20, flight no.QR51 Doha to Washington on 6th May, 2008, with departure time at 10.45 and arrival in Washington at 18.05 on 6th May, 2008.

    (iii) Complainant paid ticket charges Rs.48,859/- to opposite party no.2, vide cash receipt Ex.C2 dated 25.4.2008.

    (iv) Complainant for his stay in Washington on 6th May, 2008, had booked a room in a hotel “Holiday Inn Washington”, by paying Rs.10,043/-, vide receipt Ex.C3 dated 3.5.2008 to opposite party no.2, who had confirmed his booking for one night on 6th May, 2008, vide voucher Ex.C4.

    (v) The scheduled Delhi-Doha flight no. QR-233 of opposite party no.1, instead of taking off at 5.00 a.m., took off instead at 11.00 a.m., after 6 hours delay.

    (vi) The scheduled flight no.QR-233 was to arrive at Doha at 6.20 (Doha time), which would have enabled complainant, to take connected flight of opposite party no.1, from Doha to Washington at 10.45 a.m.(Doha time), but before arrival of QR-233 flight from Delhi at Doha, the connected flight to Washington no.QR-51 had already taken off. It happened, as the flight from Delhi to Doha, reached late by 6 hours and there was only 4 hours time with the complainant, for taking connected flight from Doha to Washington. But he reached one and a half hours late, missing the flight.

    (vii) Luggage of the complainant, booked with Qatar Airways at Delhi, remained with the airlines and it was not returned to the complainant.

    (viii) Complainant, due to missing of the connected flight for Washington at Doha, remained stranded at Doha for 24 hours and it was after 24 hours that he could get another flight of Qatar Airways from Doha to Washington.

    (ix) Complainant served notice Ex.C5, demanding compensation of $ 12500 within 7 days, which was replied by opposite party, vide reply Ex.C6 dated 6th June, 2008, intimating him to await detailed reply from them. Then issued e-mail Ex.C7, conveying investigating the contents of his complaint. Thereafter, vide e-mail Ex.C8 dated 6.8.2008, offered as a goodwill gesture, $ 250 to the complainant, which was conditional to be redeemed within 3 months from the date of this letter and applicable on Qatar Airways Services only.

    7- It is in aforesaid unimpeached aspects that we have to adjudge agony and misery suffered by the complainant, on account of missing connected flight from Doha to Washington and forcing him to spend 24 hours at Doha, without his luggage, which was booked with Qatar Airlines.

    8- The most tormented and full of anxiety period for the complainant, arrived when alongwith other passengers, was permitted to board by 4.30 a.m. on 6th May, 2008, Doha flight no.QR-233 at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. The flight was boarded after boarding passes were issued by the officials of the airlines, half an hour prior to its scheduled departure. Such aspect has not been disputed by opposite party no.1 in their reply, so taken to be admitted. This admission means everything was well with the aeroplane, half an hour prior to its scheduled departure at 5.00 a.m. Because had there been any technical snag or reason, the persons managing the affairs on behalf of opposite party no.1, would not have given call to the passengers, to board the flight and also would not have issued boarding passes. This means there was no snag or technical problem in the aircraft by 4.30 a.m. on 6th May, 2008. Otherwise, they would have kept the aircraft under maintenance or repairs, making passengers, to await in the passenger hall of the airport, intimating them that due to some unavoidable technical reasons, departure of the flight is delayed. But nothing sort of that, was done.


    This belies plea of the opposite party that delay in taking off the plane, occurred on account of technical reason or technical snag. Even otherwise, opposite party have not led any evidence, to prove or show what was that technical problem or snag. Neither any report of engineer or technician, who attended such snag, nor any maintenance record of the aircraft, is brought on the record, to establish and justify plea of technical snag/problem in the aircraft. Simply, affidavit Ex.RA1 of Naveen Chawla, Regional Manager of opposite party, in support of written reply, is relied.


    We may say that simply, the reply alongwith affidavit in support, would not be substitute, to prove allegations by evidence. Best evidence which is possessed by opposite party, regarding technical snag or problem, has been withheld by opposite party. Withholding of such material record by them, make us to infer u/s 114 of Evidence Act, that there was no such snag, technical problem in the aeroplane, so no record qua such technical snag, stands produced, as not possessed by them. This makes us, to infer and conclude that plea of developing sudden problem or technical snag by the aeroplane, is just a cooked up evidence, but without any substance.

    9- Opposite party and its employees or representatives, managing the affairs of the aeroplane at Delhi Airport, failed to communicate to the passengers, reasons of delay in taking off the plane, despite request by the complainant in this behalf. Why and for what reasons, they delayed the flight, not by few minutes or hours, but by 6 hours, they have no reasons to explain. During the period of 6 hours, complainant alongwith other passengers, after permitting to board aeroplane, on issuance of boarding passes, was made to sit for 6 long hours in that very aeroplane, before it took off. We can visualize difficulties, hardships and problems which complainant must have faced in this ordeal of 6 hours period. Because for taking this flight at 5.00 a.m., as per affidavit Ex.CW1/A of the complainant, he left his place of stay at Delhi, to Delhi Airport, located at a distance of 20 kmts., around 12.30 a.m., to catch flight at 5.00 a.m. It means he went sleepless whole night. Because was to report 3 hours prior to departure of the flight at 5.00 a.m. The flight ultimately took off at 11.00 a.m., in place of 5.00 a.m.

    10- Probably, Gulf Rich countries and western countries, who values much for their time, they must know consideration for the time of others. Had they been considerate for the time of Indian citizens and other passengers, who were to board the same flight alongwith the complainant, would not have treated them so shabbily, by not despite request, disclosing reasons of delay. But promptly, to save their skin, took defence of developing technical snag/problem in the aircraft, which to us, appears to be an after thought stand, to save themselves from clutches of this complaint.

    11- Woes of the complainant did not end at Delhi Airport, but continued to haunt him upto 24 hours, after his arrival in Doha. Because his connected flight to Washington, had already taken off, before his arrival at Doha. His entire luggage was booked with airlines and he had to spend that awful time of 24 hours without changing to night dress or any other dress. After loss of full one day, complainant instead of reaching as per schedule on 6th May, 2008 in Washington, reached there on 7th May, 2008 at 6.05 p.m. Complainant was called to Washington by his NRI client, for discussing pros and cons of his civil suit, which the NRI alongwith co-plaintiffs had filed in Ludhiana (Ex.C12 copy of plaint).

    12- On 6th and 7th of May, 2008, time was given by his NRI client, to discuss about his case in Washington, due to which complainant arranged a trip to Washington. Because thereafter, the NRI was to remain busy in a function on 9th and 10th, May, 2008, organized at the Hopkins University, Washington. But unfortunately, unexplained delay in departure of the aeroplane of opposite party no.1, from Delhi, played havoc with his entire plannings, which damaged and jeopardized the entire schedule of meeting with NRI in Washington. E-mail Ex.C9 dated 29th June, 2008 form NRI to the complainant, clearly expresses that he was unable to meet the complainant on May 7th, as well as evening of May 6th, as planned.


    Consequently, met him briefly on 8th May, under difficult circumstances, as he was occupied with his obligations for 8th and 9th May events. According to him, main objective of discussing court case, was seriously thwarted and compromised. As his obligations as well as of the complainant, did not allow them to meet after event of May 9th. So, these lines in e-mail Ex.C9 of NRI, go to show that the purpose for which, had called complainant to Washington, got frustrated. They were to meet on 6th evening and 7th morning, but could briefly meet on 8th May and main objective of calling him to Washington, was frustrated.

    13- It is in the backdrop of aforesaid aspects to be seen whether complainant is entitled to any compensation, on account of deficiency in service on part of opposite party, if so, to what extent. For this, we have to take into consideration, standing of the complainant, as a senior advocate, now holding office of Additional Advocate General, Punjab, and that since years, is an income tax payee, as reflected from his income tax returns Ex.C10 for 2006-07. Ex.C11 is the report of Chartered Accountants, who examined balance sheet of the income and expenditure account of the complainant.

    14- Complainant for the purposes of meeting his NRI client in Washington, in advance, had booked a room in a hotel, by paying Rs.10,043/- to opposite party no.2, but could not avail that services, on account of fault of the complainant, when he failed to reach Washington on 6th May, 2008. In addition to this amount, complainant has claimed for mental agony, torture and inconvenience suffered, due to mismanagement, amounting to deficiency in service on part of opposite party.

    15- We can only visualize agony, hardship and mental torture suffered by the complainant, who was made to remain sitting in aeroplane at Delhi airport for 6 hours and thereafter, forcible stay for 24 hours at Doha. His personal belongings and luggage were booked with the airlines, which were not entrusted to him at Doha. He had spent 24 hours in same clothes with which, he initially boarded the aeroplane at Delhi. Subsequently, purpose for visiting Washington, got frustrated, when his NRI client could not discuss his case, due to his pre occupation, after 7th May, 2008 and thereafter, when complainant reached Washington, the purpose of visiting far off place, was frustrated in totality. Such frustration must have caused shock, agony and sufferance to the complainant. Only the bearer knows where his shoe pinches. Other may not feel such pinch, as they never suffer such agony, torture, mental tension, harassment, stress or strain. These multinational companies or airlines must understand and should be made to understand that Indians had their own pride and honour for the nation. If they treat westerns with respect, the same is expected qua their other consumers, hailing from India or any other Asian country.


    Time is valuable not only for persons, hailing from rest of the world or Europe, but also for natives of India. In the instant case, time was essence of journey of the complainant. But it was broken, due to mismanagement, amounting to deficiency in service on part of opposite party. For no reasons, they delayed departure of the flight from New Delhi, affecting entire schedule of the complainant. For such harassment suffered by a person, having some self respect, monetary compensation, in our view, would not be enough, to provide him solace especially to his heart, ego and feelings. But we have to award compensation, to compensate him, as asked for.

    16- Complainant suffered direct loss of Rs.10,043/-, when his booking of room in Washington hotel, for 6th May, 2008, got frustrated and in addition to this, would also be entitled for removal of his mental agony and sufferance. Having regard to status of the complainant and his standing at the Bar, we feel that opposite party, for deficiency in service, must be ordered to pay compensation of Rs.1,25,000/-, for causing mental harassment to him.

    17- Therefore, we allow this complaint and sequel thereto, direct opposite party no.1, to pay Rs.10,043+1,25,000=1,35,043/-(Rupees One Lac Thirty Five Thousand and Forty Three only) to the complainant, within 45 days of receipt of copy of order, which be provided to the parties free of charge. File be completed and consigned to record room.
  • adv.singhadv.singh Senior Member
    edited February 2010
    C.C. No.979/2008

    Between:-

    B.V.Sandeep

    S/o. B.V. Srinivasa Rao,

    Aged about 20 years,

    Occ: B. Tech IV year,

    IIT Kanpur,

    R/o. 1-11-101, Shyamlal Buildings,

    Lane No.5 Begumpet,

    Hyderabad. ….Complainant


    And

    1. The Manager/In-charge,

    QATAR AIRWAYS,

    Opp: Care Hospital,

    Banjara Hills,

    Hyderabad.
    2. The Manager,

    Baggage In-charge, Quatar Airways

    Rajiv Gandhi International Airport,

    Shamshabad,

    Hyderabad. ... Opposite Parties

    This case coming on this day for final hearing before this Forum in the presence of Sri B.V.Ramana, Advocate for the complainant and Sri P.Satyamurthy, Advocate and having stood over till this date for consideration, this Forum pronounced the following:-

    O R D E R

    (per Hon’ble President, Sri M.Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy on behalf of bench)

    1. This is a Complaint filed by the Complainant under section 12 of C.P. Act, 1986, seeking a direction against the opposite parties to pay a sum of Rs.10,00,000/-.

    2. The case of the complainant as set out in the complaint in brief is that he was a complaint of B. Tech 4th year in IIT, Kanpur. While so, he got an opportunity from CSIR National Laser Centre, South Africa for doing internship. He booked flight tickets through opposite party No.1 Air Ways in Flight No. QR 251 on 07-06-2008 from Hyderabad to Johensburg. During the course of his internship at CSIR National Laser Centre, he utilized his own Laptop and saved his entire project work in it. He had purchased the said Laptop in the year-2005 bearing tracking No.00039139114703 for Rs.85,000/-.

    3. After completion of the project he travelled on 26-07-2008 in the flight No. QR 583 of opposite party No.1 Air Ways from Johensburg to Doha and again on 27-07-2008 in the same flight from Doha to Hyderabad and reached Hyderabad at 3-25 a.m. on 28-07-2008. During his travel, he had kept his Laptop in check in luggage because he had another cabin baggage. After returning home he noticed that his Laptop was lost in Air travel. Immediately himself and his father went to Qatar Air Ways office at Banjara Hills, and made oral complaint to opposite party No.1. At the advice of opposite party No.1 they gave the complaint to opposite party No.2 on 08-08-2008. Infact the Air Port Authorities did not permit him to enter the office of opposite party No.2 which is located inside the air port. However, they could give the complaint to opposite party No.2. Opposite parties No.2 asked them to wait for 60 days so, that they could trace out the missing Laptop. After waiting for the said period, the complainant made several calls and personal visits to the office of opposite parties 1 and 2 but there was no positive reply. Though they promised to get the scan report of the baggage, they could not get it. Inspite of a legal notice, the opposite party No.2 failed to respond. They were negligent.

    4. It is further pleaded that he could not estimate the value of the project work. He lost the valuable time, money and project material. The opposite parties deliberately failed to take proper care and as such they are liable to pay the compensation of Rs.10,00,000/-.

    5. The opposite parties 1 & 2 filed a common counter [written version] denying the purchase of the Laptop by the complainant in the year-2005 for Rs.85,000/- or that he utilized his Laptop and saved the entire project in it. They also denied that the complainant kept his Laptop in check in baggage. It is also denied that the complainant and his father gave complaints to the opposite parties. The complaint cannot be signed by any other person than the complainant himself. It is denied that the opposite parties had asked the complainant to wait for 15 days or that the complainant visited the office of the opposite parties for verification. The rest of the allegations are also denied. It is positively stated that the complainant has not lost the Laptop during the Air travel with opposite party No.1. It is the mandatory duty of the traveller to declare the contents of all valuable items and would have to pay excess charges as per the value. If excess charges are not paid, the compensation would be by weight criteria i.e., US $20 per Kg. of missing goods. The Law relating to compensation is governed by the war say convention and Montr?al Protocol 1995 as far India is concerned and it should be in accordance with the provisions of the carriage by Air Act-1972. The complainant never declared the presence of Laptop or its value while boarding the flight. He did not even pay the excess charges on the baggage and as such the complainant is not entitled for any compensation.





    6. The points that arise for consideration are:-

    I. Whether the complainant had checked in the Laptop bearing No.00039139114703 with saved project work while travelling in the airways of the opposite parties? and whether it was lost in the transit?

    II. Whether the opposite parties were negligent in not tracing out the missed Laplop?

    III. Whether the complainant is entitled for compensation? and if so, to what amount?

    IV. To what relief?

    7. To substantiate his case the complainant has chosen to file his evidence affidavit and relied on Ex.A1 to Ex.11. On the other hand the sales manager of opposite parties filed his evidence affidavit but did not rely on any documentary evidence. Both sides filed written arguments and also advanced oral arguments.

    8. Points I to III:- It is not in dispute that the complainant travelled in the Air Ways of the opposite parties from Hyderabad to Johannesburg on 07-06-2008 and returned on 26-07-2008. Ofcourse he also produced Ex.A4 computer ticket in evidence of the same. Exs.A5 & A6 are the letters of invitation to the complainant from Johannesburg. Ex.A7 is the copy of the passport. The dispute is with regard to the missing of the lap top in the transit. According to the complainant he purchased the lap top for Rs.85,000/- in the year-2005. In evidence of the same he produced Exs.A1 to A3. However, he could not produce the bill or receipt or invoice evidencing his purchase of the lap top. Exs.A1 and A2 are the printed cards disclosing the features of the lap top. They did not disclose that the complainant purchased the lap top of a particular make or model. Ex.A3 is the warranty card. Thus, the complainant could not produce any documents to show the purchase of the lap top.

    9. Even if it is inferred without admitting that he had purchased the lap top for Rs.85,000/-in the year-2005, he could not place any material to show that he carried the same in the Air Ways of the opposite parties from Hyderabad to Johannesburg and back. He also could not produce any material to show that he checked in the lap top in the Cargo. Without there being any evidence to show that he had checked in the lap top in the baggage, it cannot be accepted that he had checked in the lap top. According to the complainant he gave the complaint to opposite parties under Ex.A8 dated 05-08-2008 but it was actually received on 08-08-2008 that is about 10 days after the alleged incident. It is not the case of the complainant that his baggage was tampered are damaged. He just informed that his lap top was mis placed. It is unbelievable that he did not open the baggage for 10 days. There is no valid reason for him not to make a complaint immediately after arrival at Hyderabad either in the Air Port itself or after reaching home. As already noted he never complained of the tampering or damage of his baggage. So we cannot appreciate that he had checked in the lap top and that it was missing. Ex.A9 is the Lawyer’s notice which would not improve his case.

    10. It would be a general practice that the delicate items like lap top would be carried in the cabin baggage along with the passengers and would not be kept in the check in baggage. In the absence of any evidence and a pleading regarding tampering of the baggage, it cannot be blindly believed that the lap top was checked in and that the same was lost or mis placed or that there was deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties. So, the complainant is not entitled for any of the reliefs asked.

    All these points are answered against the complainant.
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