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Scope of interference by a Writ Court in decision of a Consumer forum – Limited to the extent of assessing

HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR AT JAMMU

OWP No.1020/2018
Date of order: 16.10.2018

Abdul Karim Tantray And Ors.
Vs.
Go Airlines (India) Pvt. Ltd and Ors.

Coram:

Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Judge.
Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Sindhu Sharma, Judge.
Appearing counsel:

For Petitioner/Appellant(s) : Mr. Sheikh Aleem, Advocate.
For respondent (s) : Mr. Vikas Sharma, Advocate.

Oral:

Per-Thakur-J:

1. The present writ petition challenges the order dated 23.10.2017 passed by the J&K State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Jammu to the extent it awards an amount of Rs.44,550/- only to the complainants-petitioners herein.

2. Briefly stated the material facts as under:

3. The petitioners booked tickets along with one-Naseema Bibi in the Airlines of the respondents 1 & 2 for travelling on 07.03.2011. It appears that since Naseema Bibi was suffering from a serious disease and was travelling without a medical certificate certifying her fitness to travel on the Airlines, the Airlines refused her permission to board the Air-craft. It also appears that the petitioners, who were travelling with Naseema Bibi as her attendants, were issued boarding passes. Subsequently, the petitioners were shown as “No Show Passengers” by the Airlines. The petitioners filed a complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Jammu alleging therein that the Airlines had arbitrarily refused permission to the petitioners along with Naseema Bibi to board the Air-craft. It is also urged that Naseema Bibi was not subjected to any medical examination and the decision taken by the Airlines was without any reasonable cause or justification. It was also stated that the Airlines had forfeited the air fare to the tune of Rs.20,484/-. In those circumstances, compensation to the extent of Rs.4.50 lakhs was claimed, more so, on the ground because Naseema Bibi was a patient and required medical attention. She subsequently died in Delhi on 14.03.2011.

4. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Jammu awarded compensation of Rs.5,000/- to complainant Nos. 1 to 5 along with litigation charges totaling Rs.25,000/- without interest by virtue of order dated 23.09.2015. The basis of allowing the compensation was that while it was held that decision to refuse boarding to the patient Naseema Bibi was justified, action of the Airlines in not permitting the other complainants to board was further held to be without any reasonable cause or justification.

5. By virtue of order dated 23.10.2017, the order of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Jammu was modified to the extent only that respondent No.4 in appeal being ticketing agency was held not liable, while obligation to pay compensation was fixed only on the Airlines and the ticketing agent was exonerated. The orders of the Fora below have been challenged before us in the present writ proceedings.

6. It is urged that the view taken by the J&K State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Jammu as also the District Consumer Redressal Forum, Jammu in restricting the claim of compensation to the petitioners-complainants, is on the lower side and that the petitioners were entitled to a higher sum. It was urged that because of the refusal on the part of the Airlines to permit the patient Naseema Bibi as also her attendants-complainants to board the plane on 07.03.2011, had resulted in preventing her timely medical treatment at Delhi and, therefore, on that account, the compensation ought to have been on the higher side. It is also stated that no interest at all has been granted by the Fora.

7. Heard learned counsel for the parties.

8. On a perusal of the orders passed by the Fora below, it can be seen that the awards are passed on the testimony of the witnesses as also the case set up by the complainants/petitioners herein. The scope of interference of such like orders in the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read with Section 103 of the Constitution of the State of Jammu and Kashmir is quite limited. This Court while exercising the writ jurisdiction does not sit as a Court of Appeal but has to see only whether process of arriving at a decision has been correctly followed or not. Reference in this regard can be made to the decision of the Apex Court in Heinz India Private Limited and anr. Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors, (2012) 5 SCC 443.

9. Having gone through the judgment and orders impugned, we find that there is no perversity in law committed by the State Commission in passing the order impugned.

10. For the reasons stated hereinabove, this petition is found to be without any merit and is, accordingly, dismissed.

(Sindhu Sharma) (Dhiraj Singh Thakur)
Judge Judge

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