Airline asked to pay Rs 3 lakh for lost baggage
By Team Legistify / 2017-03-28

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NEW DELHI: No amount of monetary compensation can pay for the harassment and agony a flyer goes through due to any loss of luggage during travel, the Delhi State Commission for Consumer Disputes has said. It also makes him mentally and psychologically disturbed, said the commission while asking an international airline to pay over Rs 3 lakh to a Delhi resident.

In 2010, Air France misplaced the baggage of Dimple Malhotra during her Europe travel. Later, on receiving it back, Malhotra claimed that some of her belongings were missing. She also had to extend her stay.

"It is human psychology that if a person finds his luggage missing, he feels disturbed mentally and psychologically. After every few hours he gets a glimpse of the loss. This is more so when he is away to a foreign country where there is none known to him. Plight of such a person cannot be lost sight of. No amount of monetary compensation can recoup that loss. It is only an attempt to mitigate that by awarding some monetary compensation," said a bench of O P Gupta and Anil Srivastava while hearing an appeal filed by Air France against the Rs 3-lakh compensation order of a district forum.

Malhotra had claimed Rs 4 lakh as compensation for the missing belongings as well as her mental agony and "emotional torture."

On her arrival at London from Paris, Malhotra was informed that her baggage was not in the flight but she would get it the next morning. Next day, she was asked to come in the evening, but it was not delivered to her even then. The luggage included her hand baggage that had her return tickets, forcing her to book expensive business-class tickets for the return journey to Delhi.

The airline had argued that there was contradictions in Malhotra's description of contents compared to the customs form for clearance of mishandled baggage. The "lost" valuables are also not meant to be included in the check-in baggage, it said. The commission, however, said the airline had claimed that the hand baggage was overweight. Hence, it "cannot take advantage of the said fact".

Air France also pointed out that mental agony did not find a mention in the Warsaw, Hague and Montreal conventions, which have force of law in India under the Carriage by Air Act. Therefore, compensation for non-bodily injuries could not be awarded in the absence of any physical injury.

But the commission awarded Malhotra Rs 2 lakh for the mental harassment and Rs 1,87,490 "on account of additional burden incurred"

News Source - Times of India

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