SC asks Civil Aviation Ministry, airlines to work out ways to refund tickets cancelled during lockdown

DN Bureau

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation and airlines to sit together and work on modalities for ways to refund the money of passengers for cancellation of their tickets during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Supreme Court
Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Ministry of Civil Aviation and airlines to sit together and work on modalities for ways to refund the money of passengers for cancellation of their tickets during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan also sought a response from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and airlines on a batch of petitions seeking a complete refund of the money spent by people on booking airline tickets cancelled during the lockdown.

The bench told the Central government to take a stand and asked the ministry and airlines to discuss the modalities and apprise the court in three weeks.

During the hearing, SpiceJet told the court that nowhere in the world are airlines refunding the complete fare. "We would like to sit with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and come up with a solution," it told the top court. The top court suggested that a credit note by airlines must have a life of at least two years and for any route if that's the way out.

The petitions filed in the apex court have urged the court to declare the alleged action of airlines of not refunding the entire value of the cancelled air tickets as violative of the civil aviation requirement issued by the authority.

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It claimed that the April 16 office memorandum directing airlines to provide a full refund of the amount paid to only those people who booked tickets during the lockdown period and "leaving out people who booked tickets prior to lockdown but the flights cancelled due to lockdown amounts to treating equals unequally and thus the same is in clear violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution."

The plea said that it is clear from the office memorandum that "directs the airlines to refund only those tickets that were booked during the lockdown period, leaves out the vast majority of passengers who had booked tickets before the flights were banned". (ANI)

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