V.K. Jain, Presiding Member (Oral)
1. The complainants who were working with St. John’s Higher Secondary School, Palayamkottai booked 18 tickets with the opposite party-Interglobe Aviation Ltd. for travelling to Nepal. One person later got his ticket cancelled. The remaining 17 persons reported at Delhi International Airport for boarding the aircraft to Nepal. The officials of the airlines was ready to issue boarding passes to eight persons who possessed either the passport or the voter ID but refused boarding passes to the remaining nine persons who did not possess either the passport or the voter ID but had other valid photo ID such as driving license or PAN card with them.
2. The e-tickets of all the 17 persons were returned with the following remarks;
Mr. Immanual : Voter ID Decided not to travel
Mr. Arul Raj
Mr. Durai Tamil Selvan
Remaining pax denied as no valid photo ID for international travel.
Mr. Sankar Raj (voter ID)
Mr. Manithurai (voter ID) : Decided not to travel
Mr. Janagar Raj (passport)
Remaining pax denied as no valid photo ID for international travel.'
3. Thus, eight persons namely Janagar Raj, Manithurai, Sankar Raj, Justin Manasseh, Tennison, Immanual Maduram, Arulraj Abraham and Durai Tamil Selvan who possessed voter ID/passport and had been issued boarding passes decided not to travel on the ground that the remaining nine persons namely Jeyaraj Victor, Durai Raj, Frank Baskar, Franklin Rajadurai., Ebeneser Davidson, Rajpaul Daniel, Jeyakumar, Robert Rajendran and Vincen had been denied boarding passes.
4. Since the complainants were not allowed to travel to Nepal, they have filed this complaint seeking refund of the air fare besides Rs.1,00,000/- towards the amount spent in advance for stay at Nepal and Rs.1,70,00,000/- as compensation.
5. The case of the complainants is that as per the information available on the website, the following are considered as valid photo identification documents:
Valid driving license.
Election Photo Identification Card
PAN card issued by the Income Tax Department
Photo identity card issued by the employer, being government and reputed private sector organizations
Children travelling on IndiGo should carry their school identification cards or any other photo identification proof along with them.
Valid birth certificates of infants need to be produced at the time of check-in for age proof.
It is also notified on the website that for all sectors originating or terminating outside India, except to and from Nepal, the passport will be the only form of identification allowed.
6. A perusal of the e-tickets which the opposite party had issued to the complainants which is available on pages 36 to 38 of the paper book would show that it was clearly stipulated therein that Indian nationals travelling to and from Kathmandu are required to carry either passport or voter ID only as their valid photo identity and no other photo identity will be considered as valid. Since the aforesaid term was printed on the e-ticket itself, the complainants cannot claim to be unaware of the said term. Therefore, they were required to carry either the passport or the voter ID while reporting at the airport for boarding the aircraft to Kathmandu.
7. As regards the information available on the website, the same would not apply to the complainants in view of the specific term printed on the e-tickets issued to them. The information available on the website is general in nature and applies to all sectors and all travelers whereas clause 14 of the conditions printed on the e-ticket issued to the complainants was applicable only to the Indian citizens who were seeking to travel to Nepal. Having booked the ticket on the terms & conditions printed thereon, including that they would be allowed to fly to Nepal only on production of a passport or a voter ID, the complainants, in our view, cannot claim that they ought to have been allowed to travel on the strength of the driving license, PAN card or identity proof other than the passport or the voter ID. In fact the condition requiring Indian nationals travel to and from Kathmandu to carry either the passport or voter ID may have been imposed by the airlines pursuant to some direction issued to them either by the Government of India or by the Government of Nepal. What is important for our purpose is that the aforesaid condition of carrying either passport or voter ID was known to the complainants at the time they booked the tickets for travel to Nepal and, therefore, the airlines was fully justified in denying the boarding tickets
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to those who did not possess either the passport or the voter ID. Admittedly, the airlines was ready to issue boarding tickets to eight persons who possessed passport/voter ID but considering that their nine colleagues had been denied boarding tickets, since they did not possess either passport or voter ID, they also decided not to travel to Nepal. 8. For the reasons stated hereinabove, we find no deficiency on the part of the opposite party in providing services to the complainants. The complaint is accordingly dismissed.