- Shimla native Ramesh Bhargava had lost a 24kg suitcase in 2008
- The tribunal said the bag loss had caused 'mental agony and harassment'
- The tribunal found deficiency on part of the airline in finding the bag
Delhi State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, while upholding the compensation amount decided by a district forum in New Delhi, observed that the incident caused "mental agony and harassment" to Shimla native Ramesh Bhargava, who did not get one of his two bags after landing at Heathrow Airport in 2008.
"The loss of baggage of complainant (Mr Bhargava) is admitted by the airline. Loss of baggage has certainly caused mental agony and harassment to the complainant. Keeping in mind the totality of facts and circumstances of the case, District Forum has awarded the compensation of Rs 1 lakh which is just and proper," the commission's Presiding Member Justice Veena Birbal said.
The commission dismissed the appeals of the airline and the complainant seeking reduction and enhancement of compensation respectively.
"(It) is not a case for lesser compensation as is alleged by the airline. It is not the case of complainant that he made declaration of contents of bag. In these circumstances, complainant is not entitled for higher compensation as alleged by him," it said.
According to the passenger's complaint, he had travelled by British Airways from New Delhi to London on June 7, 2008 and had checked-in with two suitcases of 24 kg each.
He had alleged that on reaching Heathrow Airport, he received one of the two suitcases and when their staff could not locate the missing suitcase, they assured him of a compensation in three weeks, but no action was taken.
Accordingly for the deficiency on part of the airline, Mr Bhargava filed a complaint before the district forum seeking amount for cost of baggage, expenses incurred for stay of at hotel, cost of other valuables in the bag and also prayed for compensation for mental torture.
The airline had denied that the missing baggage had items as were alleged. It also claimed that the amount awarded by the district forum was very high and contended that the complainant was entitled to $20 per kg in accordance with the un-amended provisions of the Carriage by Air Act, 1972. The commission, however, rejected the claim.
"The contention of the airline that Bhargava is entitled to compensation as per weight of baggage has no force. Simply because no hotel bills are produced is no ground to reduce the compensation," the commission said.