The Supreme Court is hearing a case of complete refund of the tickets booked for air travel during the lockdown.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Center to inform the Center about the tickets booked for the flight during the Kovid-19 lockdown, whether it is ready to pay back all their money. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice MR Shah referred to the affidavit of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation during the hearing of the case through video conference. It said that tickets booked during lockdown would be refunded. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the money would be refunded even if the ticket was booked even before the lockdown period on 15 March. However, Mehta said that he would file an additional affidavit explaining the situation in this regard.
He said that according to my understanding, suppose that the ticket was booked for the journey during the lockdown period on March 15 before the lockdown and if the flight is canceled, the entire amount of the ticket will be refunded. Mehta said that it is not in the hands of the government to refund the ticket if it was booked to go elsewhere from another country. He said that if Kovid-19 had booked a ticket for domestic or international travel during the same period during the lockdown, the government had proposed to consider refunding the money of such ticket and is considering and has tried to ensure that Airlines do not suffer due to this. Mehta said that the proposal to refund the ticket money would have to be cleared by the apex court.
The apex court is hearing petitions filed in connection with the case relating to refund of all the tickets for flights canceled due to the lockdown implemented from March 25 due to Kovid-19. During the hearing, Mehta said that there are three categories in this case and the entire amount of domestic flight tickets will have to be returned to each airline.
On behalf of SpiceJet, senior advocate Harish Salve said that he agrees with the government’s stand. On behalf of Indigo, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said that broadly, we also agree with the proposal of the Center and they need two to three days for one or two issues. To this, the bench said that all of you should file your affidavit. We will hear this on another day.
Advocate Neela Gokhale on behalf of the Travel Agent Association said that her money was stuck because the airlines did not return any money.
The apex court listed the matter for September 23 along with directing all parties to file affidavits. During the hearing, senior advocate CA Sundaram, on behalf of the passengers association, said that as per the direction of the court, they have made all the airline companies as defendants. Another senior advocate Sanjay Hegde said that this relief should not be limited to those who booked tickets during the first lockdown.