Refund of Airline Ticket booked prior and during the ongoing lockdown period in India.

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This petition is made against the arbitrary action on the part of the Airlines operating domestic as well as International flights in India by not refunding the the full amount collected for the tickets due to the cancellation of flights in the wake of restrictions imposed by the Government of India to contain Covid19.The Airlines instead of providing the full refund of the amount collected for the tickets due to cancellation, are providing a Credit Shell, valid upto one year.

Due to this illegal practise on the part of the airlines, lakhs of people across the Country who have booked their tickets or Domestic as well as International travel are affected and tend to loss lakhs of Rupees.It is also pertinent to mention that due to this illegal practice, the Airline companies are unjustly enriched to an amount of more than Rs. 500 Crores.

It is pertinent to note that the Ministry of Civil Aviation vide its Office Memorandum dt. 16.04.2020 directed the Airlines to refund only those tickets that were booked during the lockdown period and leaves out the vast majority of passengers who had booked tickets before the flights were banned. This indirectly approves to 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).

But there is no question of anyone booking a ticket during the lockdown period knowing the fact that schedule passenger flights were cancelled for period of travel. This makes the Office Memorandum of the Ministry of Civil Aviation ambiguous and devoid of any logic.

The Office Memorandum dt. 16.04.2020 issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation is in clear violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution in so far as directing the airlines to provide full refund of ticket amount only if the ticket is booked during the lockdown period for travel during the lockdown which amounts to treating equals unequally.

The airline companies instead of showing humanitarian virtues, is rather seeing these challenging times as an opportunity to extract unlawful gains from the people who are already in misery due to uncertainties. That the present policy is extremely harsh on the ordinary passengers who book tickets in advance for travelling.

Pravasi Legal Cell, an NGO working with an objective of empowering people on the legal front, has moved the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India seeking a relief against this arbitrary action on the part of the airline companies and the Government of India, wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court has sought a reply from the Government. So let the Government come out with an appropriate reply!Let us stand united against this unethical practice of the Airline companies and demand an answer from the Government!