A three judge bench of the Supreme Court has issued notice to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on a petition stating that airlines operating both domestic and international flights in India are violating the Ministry order. They are required to pay the full refund for tickets booked for air travel during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul observed that the non-refund of those tickets booked for air travel after lockdown was initiated was “arbitrary.”
NGO Pravasi Legal Cell through advocate Jose Abraham has moved the plea stating the same is in violation of the Civil Aviation Requirement, 2008 issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
The plea contended that airlines, instead of providing full refund of the amount collected for cancelled tickets, are providing a credit shell, valid up to one year.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) has issued an office memorandum directing all airline operators to refund the full amount collected for all tickets booked during the first phase of the lockdown period (from March 25 to April 14) for domestic and international air travel on April 16.
The plea highlighted,
the Office Memorandum “leaves out the vast majority of passengers who had booked tickets before the flights were banned and thus indirectly approves the practice of the Airlines providing Credit Shell for booking effected before the lockdown, though the same clearly violates the refund rules of the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).”