The word ‘Service’ in any part of the planet earth is synonymous with providence and facilitation of convenience as well as satisfactory ease as a basic principle but what if someone willfully makes a deliberate attempt to violate this fundamental norm and causes considerable hardship and suffering to the service user .
Consumer Protection Act acts as rescuer , just as it did in the case of a Couple of Moga who was forced to deboard a Indigo flight from Delhi to Goa , for reason of carrying and keeping a Power- Bank device in their check-in luggage. The state consumer redressal commission acting on the complaint, directed to pay InterGlobe Aviation Ltd. operator of Indigo Airlines , the sum of Rs.4 lakh as compensation and Rs.44,000 as litigation cost. The said order was pronounced on the appeal filed against the order of Moga District Consumer Redressal Forum which has dismissed the complaint submitted by the sufferer couple – Puneet Kansal & Monika Kansal who are practicing lawyers at Punjab & Haryana High Court
The state redressal commission by agreeing with the grievance of complainants, disposed the appeal and ruled that “The act and conduct of the Airlines amounts to do violence to their human dignity and violate their fundamental rights . Deboarding not only caused inconvenience to the couple but the trauma also caused to other complications. There is deficiency in service and adoption of unfair trade practice by asking the couple to de- board flight.
As just a few minutes before the booked flight could take off, the husband Puneet was told to go along with flight attendants on the pretext of having some issue with the check-in luggage . Soon after, even the wife, Monika was also asked to leave the plane. The couple was made aware of the reason of deboarding containing of Power bank in their check-in luggage and the same was non-clearable for loading. Although the couple was allowed later on to travel to Goa via a connecting flight through Ahmedabad but the couple ,in the whole episode caused them considerable stress and strain , thereby got ruined the very purpose of enjoying their holidays .
The State Redressal commission while rejecting the arguments put forth by the aviation company that under the Aircraft Act, 1934 and the rules contained thereof carrying of lithium batteries (power bank consists the same ) is non-permissible on board of any Aircraft. The commission even though agreeing with the said provision, repudiated the Airline’s claim that containment of such bags gives the authority to ask for deboarding from the plane. Rather the couple could have been told to remove the power bank from their check-inn luggage and carry it in their carry bag. The only hitch being that it could have delayed the concerned flight by a few minutes. But the Airlines was unduly harsh and acted in the contravention of providing comfortable service and utility.