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Ajay Travels v/s Dr. Pulak Jain & Another

    Revision Petition Nos. 1435-1436 of 2015 in Appeal Nos. 382 & 384 of 2014

    Decided On, 07 August 2019

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC


    For the Petitioner: B.S. Sharma, Advocate. For the Yahoo Tour & Travels and Ajay Travels: Mohd. Anis Ur Rehman, Advocate. For the DGCA: Sanjib Kumar Mohanty, Sr. Penal Central Govt. Counsel with Amit Acharya, Advocates.

Judgment Text

1. The complainants in RPs/1435-1436/2015 and RP/1437-1438/2015 who are doctors by profession booked air tickets on Jet Airways Flight No. 9W 2822, through Ajay Travels. The flight was to depart at 9.25 p.m. on 9.6.2012. The flight, however, was rescheduled by the airlines and departed at 10.40 a.m. As a result, they also could not appear in the examination in which they were scheduled to appear in Kolkata at 9.00 a.m. on 10.6.2012. Being aggrieved, they approached the concerned District Forum by way of separate consumer complaints seeking compensation under several heads.

2. The complaints were resisted by Jet Airways India Ltd. as well as by Ajay Travels. In its written version, Jet Airways maintained that it was entitled to change the schedule of its flight without notice. Admitting the change in the time of the flight, it was inter alia stated in its written version that M/s. Ajay Travels had got immediate notification of the change on 4.5.2012 itself when the change was effected. It was also alleged that the message regarding the change in the departure time of the flight was also sent to complainant on the mobile phone intimated to the airline, on 6.6.2012 and an entry to this effect was made in his PNR.

3. In its written version, M/s. Ajay Travels inter alia stated that it was only a booking agent and had no control over the arrival and departure time of the flight. It was further stated in its written version that it is for the Airlines to inform the passenger directly if the flight is rescheduled.

4. The District Forum allowed both the above-referred complaints by directing Jet Airways India Ltd. as well as by Ajay Travels to pay a sum of Rs. 38,493 to the complainants along with Rs. 11 lakh as compensation.

5. Being aggrieved from the order passed by the District Forum both Jet Airways India Ltd. as well as by Ajay Travels filed separate appeals before the concerned State Commission. vide impugned order dated 8.4.2015, the State Commission partly allowed the appeals by reducing the compensation to Rs. 1 lakh while maintaining the direction for payment of Rs. 38,493 with interest. Being aggrieved, both the Jet Airways India Ltd. as well as by Ajay Travels are before this Commission by way of these revision petitions.

6. As far as Ajay Travels is concerned, they being only an agent of Jet Airways for the purpose of booking the tickets, there was no obligation cast on them to intimate the change in the time of the flights to the complainants. The timings of the flights were changed by Jet Airways and Ajay Travels had no control over or role to play in the change of the timings. They being only an agent of the Jet Airways, neither they can enforce any contract on behalf of Jet Airways nor are they liable for performance of the contract between Jet Airways and the complainants. A reference in this regard can be made to Section 230 of the Contract Act which reads as under:

230. Agent cannot personally enforce, nor be bound by, contracts on behalf of principal.—In the absence of any contract to that effect, an agent cannot personally enforce contracts entered into by him on behalf of his principal, nor is he personally bound by them.

Presumption of contract to contrary— Such a contract shall be presumed to exist in the following cases:

(1)where the contract is made by an agent for the sale or purchase of goods for a merchant resident abroad;

(2)where the agent does not disclose the name of his principal;

(3)where the principal, though disclosed, cannot be sued.

7. Since the booking by Ajay Travels was not made for a merchant resident abroad, the name of the principal was duly disclosed to the complainants, the tickets having been issued by the principal Jet Airways itself, and this is not a case where principal though disclosed, cannot be sued, the Consumer Complaint on account of failure to intimate the change in the time of the flight to the complainants was not maintainable against them. This is not the case of the complainants that at the time of booking the tickets on behalf of Jet Airways, M/s Ajay Travels had undertaken to inform them in case there was any change in the time of the flights. In any case, the stand taken by Jet Airways is that it had also intimated the change in the time of the flights to the passengers. Therefore, it was not necessary for Ajay Travels to intimate the said change in time of the flights to the complainants.

8. As far as Jet Airways is concerned, the case of the Airline is that the intimation of the change in time was sent by way of a message on the mobile number of one Dr. Pulak Jain which was made available to them at the time of booking the tickets. Reliance in this regard is placed upon the PNR entry made in the record of the airline. However, no electronic evidence was produced before the District Forum to prove that any message intimating the change in the time of the flights was actually sent to the complainants and was duly delivered to them on the mobile number made available to Jet Airways. Even the affidavit of the person who may possibly have sent the SMS to the complainants on the above referred mobile phone, was not filed. The complainants, on the other hand, specifically alleged that they had not received any intimation of change in the timings of the flights and that is why they had reached the airport in order to board the flight at its original scheduled time of departure. The conduct of the complainants in reaching the airport in night, corroborates the stand taken by them. In these circumstances, I see no reason to disturb the concurrent finding of fact returned by the Fora below, holding that Jet Airways did not intimate the change in the timings of the flights to the complainants.

9. Jet Airways therefore, was clearly deficient in rendering services to the complainants by not giving advance intimation of the change in timings of the flights to the complainants despite their contact numbers being available with it.

10. For the reasons stated her

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einabove, the Revision Petition Nos. 1435-1436 of 2015 and Revision Petition Nos. 1437-1438 of 2015, filed by Ajay Travels are allowed and the complaints against it are dismissed. As far as quantum of compensation is concerned, considering all the facts and circumstances of the case, Jet Airways, in my opinion, should pay an all-inclusive compensation of Rs. 1,00,000 each to the complainants Dr. Pulak Jain and Dr. Rachna Dhaddha, along with simple interest @ 9% per annum from the date of the order of the District Forum till the date on which this order is complied. The Revision Petitions filed by Jet Airways stand disposed of accordingly. Revision Petition allowed.