Jet Airways has been directed by a consumer commission to pay Rs 2.45 lakh to a man for forgetting to take on board his father's coffin which he had booked as cargo while travelling from Bangalore to Port Blair for performing the last rites.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) rejected Jet Airways' plea against the decision of Andaman and Nicobar Islands state commission which had awarded the amount to the complainant for the mental agony and deficient service experienced by him and his family as the remains were delivered a day late.
"The short plea (of the airline) was that the error was on account of human error 'which do occur sometimes'. We are unable to comprehend as to how a package weighing 100 kgs was left unattended in the aircraft when admittedly the flight from Bangalore terminated at Chennai and all the passengers travelling to Port Blair were required to board another aircraft for onward journey.
"A baggage weighing 100 kgs could not remain hidden so as to escape the attention of the ground staff. We have no hesitation in upholding the finding of the State Commission that it was a case of gross negligence and deficiency in service on the part of the airlines," a bench presided by Justice D K Jain said.
According to the complaint of the complainant, South Andaman resident Vijay Kumar, his father expired on May 27, 2008 at Bangalore and as the last rites of the deceased were to be performed on May 28, 2008 at Andaman and Nicobar Islands he had decided to carry the remains by air to Port Blair.
A sum of Rs 8,230 was paid by Kumar as carriage charges while booking the coffin as cargo and the nature and quantity of goods was shown as 'human remains'. He also travelled on the same flight, he had said.
When the flight reached Port Blair, it was discovered the human remains were not on board as it was not loaded on the flight proceeding from Chennai to Port Blair and the coffin was delivered on May 29, 2008, Mr Kumar had said.