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Lufthansa German Airlines vs. Sunil Kothari & Ors dated 2012-11-22

 

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
NEW DELHI
 
 
 
REVISION PETITION NO.1737 OF 2012
(Against the order dated 28.02.2012 in Appeal No. 600 of 2009 of the State Commission, Rajasthan)
 
Lufthansa German Airlines
12th Floor, DLF Building No.10,
Tower B,
DLF City, Phase-II,
Gurgaon,
Haryana- 122002                                                                                                                                               ……….Petitioner
 
Versus
 
1. Sunil Kothari
# 200,
Haldiyo Wala Rastha,
Jaipur
 
2. Royal Classic Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd.
# 143, First Floor,
Ganpathi Plaza,
M.I. Road
Jaipur                                                                                                                                                                      .........Respondents  
 
 
REVISION PETITION NO.1738 OF 2012
(Against the order dated 28.02.2012 in Appeal No. 601 of 2009 of the State Commission, Rajasthan)
 
Lufthansa German Airlines
12th Floor, DLF Building No.10,
Tower B,
DLF City, Phase-II,
Gurgaon,
Haryana- 122002                                                                                                                                                  ……….Petitioner
 
Versus
 
1. Sudhir Kothari
# 200,
Haldiyo Wala Rastha,
Jaipur
 
2. Royal Classic Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd.
# 143, First Floor,
Ganpathi Plaza,
M.I. Road
Jaipur                                                                                                                                                                 .........Respondents  
 
 
REVISION PETITION NO.1739 OF 2012
(Against the order dated 28.02.2012 in Appeal No. 602 of 2009 of the State Commission, Rajasthan)
 
Lufthansa German Airlines
12th Floor, DLF Building No.10,
Tower B,
DLF City, Phase-II,
Gurgaon,
Haryana- 122002                                                                                                                                                  ……….Petitioner
 
Versus
 
1. P.K. Lodha,
A-8, Mahavir Nagar,
Tonk Road,
Jaipur
 
2. Royal Classic Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd.
# 143, First Floor,
Ganpathi Plaza,
M.I. Road
Jaipur                                                                                                                                                                     .........Respondents  
 
 
BEFORE
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE  J. M. MALIK,
                              PRESIDING MEMBER
HON’BLE MR. VINAY KUMAR, MEMBER
 
 
For the Petitioner         :   Mr.Sandeep Grover, Advocate with
                                        Mr. Varun Shankar, Advocate
 
 
PRONOUNCED ON: 22.11.2012
 
 
ORDER
 
 
 
PER MR.VINAY KUMAR, MEMBER    
          These three revision petitions arise out of a common order passed by the Rajasthan State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Appeal Nos.600-602/2009.  The State Commission has confirmed the order of the District Forum and dismissed the appeal filed by the present revision petitioner, Lufthansa German Airlines.
 
 
 
2.      The facts as seen in Revision Petition No.1737 of 2012 have been taken for the purposes of the consideration of these revision petitions.  The matter arose out of travel of the Complainant from New Delhi to Tusan (US) for participating the Tusan Fair in February, 2005.  The journey, in both sectors, was booked on Lufthansa Flight.  Onward journey from New Delhi to Tusan via Munich (Germany) had apparently no problem.  But, for the return journey, which was from Tusan to New Delhi via Frankfurt (Germany), the Complainant was not allowed to board the flight, on the ground that he did not have transit visa for Germany.  He had to undergo considerable additional expenditure and personal inconvenience and could return to Delhi after a delay of two days. In the consumer complaint filed against Royal Classic Tours and Travel Pvt. Ltd. (OP-1) and Lufthansa German Air Lines, through its Country Manager, New Delhi (OP-2), the Complainant claimed 1488.44 US $ towards cost of the tickets, Rs.4 lacs towards compensation and Rs.21,000/- towards costs. 
 
 
 
3.      Before the District Forum, OP-1 took the stand that he had only sold the ticket as the agent of OP-2.  According to OP-2 transit visa was demanded by the officials of United Airlines on whom OP-2 did not exercise any control.  These contentions were rejected by the District Forum which relied upon the letter of 23.2.2005 address by OP-2 to OP-1 in which it was clearly admitted that the problem arose due to miscommunication between the immigration officials and the United Airlines, which was partner airline of OP-2/the present revision petitioner.  The District Forum also took note of the submission of OP-2 that they had rebooked the passenger from Tusan to New Delhi on the next day i.e. 9.2.2005 but it has observed that no supporting documentary evidence was produced in this behalf.   In the result, the District Forum allowed the complaint and awarded the air fare from Tusan to New Deklhi via Frankfurt, rejecting the claim of the Complainant for a much longer route of travel.  The Forum also awarded compensation of Rs.1 lakh.
 
 
 
4.      In the appeal, the State Commission has referred to the letter of 23.2.2005 and observed that:-
 
“Appellants themselves admitted that transit visa was demanded by them due to confusion and they have apologized for this.  Therefore, deficiency in service on the part of appellant is clear from their letter dated 23.2.2005.  These trips of complainant did not cancel due to the migration officers but cancelled due to wrong demand of transit Visa after the issue of ticket by the defendant.”
 
 
 
5.      We have considered the records as produced with the revision petitions as well as the additional documents filed as per the direction of this Commission.  The crucial letter of 23.2.2005 address by OP-2 to OP-1 was not originally produced and was therefore, taken as part of additional documents.  Contents of this letter explain the entire situation in the following terms:- 
 
“This is further to our correspondence dated February 16, 2005, regarding the inconveniences that our mutual customers – Mr. Sudhir Kothari, Mr. Sunil Kothari and Mr. Pramod Lodha had to undergo, on account of the transit visa for Germany.
 
Before going further, we would like to take this opportunity to apologise for all the inconveniences that they had to face on account of this incident.  We have on hand the outcome of our investigations, which we would like to share with you.  As per the histories of the flight booking records, it has come to our notice that all the three passengers were booked to travel for 08 February 05 from Tusan in Arizona.  On account of some miscommunications between the immigration officials and our partner airline- United Airways in Tusan.  As soon as we received the information , our officials immediately contacted the embassy officials and a message to ignore this regulation was sent.  Furthermore, it has also come to our notice that, accordingly the flights were rebooked for the passengers to return to Delhi via Frankfurt.
 
Dear Mr. Sett, we express our sincere regrets over the incidents and regret to learn of the inconvienences that the passengers had to face on account of this incident.  We hereby request you to provide us with another chance to display our commitment.”
 
 
 
6.      Learned counsel for the revision petitioner Mr. Sandeep Grover argued that once the mistake was found out, the petitioner had rebooked the Complainant on the flight to New Delhi for the very next day i.e. 9.2.2005.  However, when confronted with the observation of the District Forum in this behalf, learned counsel conceded that the fact of rebooking could not be communicated to the Complainant.
 
 
 
7.      A perusal of the revision petition shows that it is a reiteration of the contentions raised before and considered by the fora below.  It needs to be pointed out here that the scope of proceedings under revision powers of this Commission is limited.  Section 21 (b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 permits interference of this Commission only where “it appears to the National Commission that such State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.”
 
 
 
8.In this behalf Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Rubi(Chandra) Dutta Vs.United India Insurance Co. Ltd.,(2011) 11 SCC 269 has held that the National Commission’s power of revision under S.21 (b), C P Act, 1986  is limited to cases where some prima facie error appears in impugned order. Interference on the basis of a different interpretation of same sets of facts was held to be not permissible.
 
 
 
9.      In our view, the decision of the State Commission in the impugned order in Appeal Nos.600-602/2009 is based on correct appreciation of evidence on record.  No interference is called for in exercise of power under Section 22 (b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.  Consequently, the revision petitions are dismissed for want of merit.  
 
.……………Sd/-……………
(J. M. MALIK, J.)
PRESIDING MEMBER
 
……………Sd/-…………….
(VINAY KUMAR)
                                                                                   MEMBER
S./-
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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