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Regular-article-logo Friday, 01 March 2024

Airfare refund quibble

SC asked the Centre to clarify its assurance that passengers who had booked flight tickets before the lockdown would also be refunded the cancelled fares

Our Legal Correspondent New Delhi Published 10.09.20, 04:50 AM
The court passed the direction after senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for some passengers, expressed apprehension that the recent affidavit filed by the DGCA did not specify whether those passengers who booked tickets prior to the lockdown would be refunded the cancelled fares, too.

The court passed the direction after senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for some passengers, expressed apprehension that the recent affidavit filed by the DGCA did not specify whether those passengers who booked tickets prior to the lockdown would be refunded the cancelled fares, too. Shutterstock

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to clarify through an additional affidavit the government’s assurance that passengers who had booked flight tickets before the Covid-19 lockdown would also be refunded the cancelled fares along with those who had booked tickets during the actual lockdown period.

The court passed the direction after senior advocate Sanjay Hegde, appearing for some passengers, expressed apprehension that the recent affidavit filed by the DGCA did not specify whether those passengers who booked tickets prior to the lockdown would be refunded the cancelled fares, too.

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“We only want to say relief should not be confined to those who booked tickets during the first lockdown.

“The affidavit gives an impression that relief is confined to only those who had booked during the first lockdown. Relief should be granted to everyone whose flights had been cancelled because of the lockdown,” Hegde said.

Justice Ashok Bhushan asked solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Centre, whether cancellation of tickets for travel during lockdown but booked before it were also taken care of, to which Mehta said: “Yes.”

However, the court wanted a written assurance and asked the government to clarify the point through an additional affidavit.

“Airlines and other stakeholders have prayed for one week’s time to file their reply to the affidavit. The request in granted.

“Tushar Mehta may also file the additional affidavit within the same period,” the bench headed by Justice Bhushan said, listing the matter for further hearing on September 23.

The Centre had in a recent affidavit assured the court that passengers would be entitled to full refund of their cancelled fares for all tickets booked during lockdown 1 and 2 between March 25 to May 3.

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