The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) held the airline negligent and deficient in service for failing to keep the luggage in safe custody and deliver it to the passenger, while upholding a Delhi State Consumer Commission order on the compensation.
It noted that when the doctor travelled by Emirate Airlines to Athens for a conference one of his bags was misplaced, which has not been found till date, and on the return journey his second bag was damaged.
The NCDRC also dismissed the airline's appeal against the order of the Delhi State Consumer Commission which had held that loss of luggage amounted to deficiency and awarded Rs two lakh as compensation to the doctor.
"In the instant case, due to negligence and deficiency in service, appellant airlines which was entrusted with safe custody and delivery of the passenger's luggage admittedly failed to do so, causing the respondent (doctor), a well-known Oncologist, to undergo mental tension, harassment...
"We see no reason to disagree with compensation awarded, which, we feel, is fully justified. We, therefore, uphold order of the State Commission and dismiss the present first appeal. Airline is directed to pay the respondent a sum of Rs two lakh," a bench presided by Justice Ashok Bhan said.
The airline in its appeal had contended that despite best intentions, occasionally bags get misplaced or lost and such incidents are covered by the Carriage by Air Act. It said the state commission by awarding the compensation of Rs two lakh has negated the Carriage by Air Act.
The NCDRC, however, rejected the airline's contention saying loss of the doctor's luggage caused him harassment and he is entitled to compensation for the airline's deficiency in service as per provisions of the Consumer Protection Act.
The doctor in his plea before the state commission had alleged that not only was his luggage lost and mishandled, but he was offered a very small sum as compensation for the inconvenience caused to him.