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NCS Travels and Tours Pvt. Ltd. & Another v/s Arihant Rampuria & Another

    First Appeal No. A/941/2017

    Decided On, 27 July 2018

    At, West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Kolkata


    For the Appellant: Atulya Sinha, Advocate. For the Respondents: -----------------

Judgment Text

The instant appeal under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’) is at the behest of Opposite Parties to impeach the Final Order being Order No.13 dated 21.07.2017 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Kolkata, Unit-I (for short, Ld. District Forum) in Consumer Complaint no. 588/2015. By its order, the Ld. District Forum allowed the consumer complaint lodged by the Respondents under Section 12 of the Act on contest with the direction upon the Appellants/Opposite Parties to pay a sum of Rs.1,10,000/- only to the Complainants/Respondents along with compensation of Rs.20,000/- and litigation cost of Rs.2,000/- to be paid within 30 days from the date of communication of the order in default, an interest @ 10% p.a. shall accrue over the entire amount till its realisation.

The Respondents herein being Complainants lodged the complaint stating that on 07.02.2014 they purchased an Air ticket for Bali at the cost of Rs.55,000/- from OP No.1. At the time of such purchase, OP No.2, an employee of OP No.1 informed the complainants that they do not require Malayasian VISA if they do not leave the Kualalampur Airport and in Bali, VISA will be given on arrival. On reaching the airport, however, the Airport Authority did not allow the complainants to board the flight for non-availability of VISA. Hence, the complaint on the allegation of deficiency in services on the part of opposite parties with prayer for several reliefs, viz. – (a) to direct the OPs to refund the amount of Rs.1,10,000/- with 12% interest till the date of payment; (b) Rs.1,00,000/- as compensation for harassment and mental agony and (c) Rs.30,000/- for litigation cost.

The Appellants being Opposite Parties by filing a written version have stated that their liability was only with regard to arrangement of air ticket and they never told the complainants at any point of time for not to carry VISA with themselves resulting which the trip was cancelled. The OPs have submitted that they got the information about such incident from the complainants over phone but the moment the OP No.2 came to learn that the complainants were not carrying their respective VISA at the time of travelling, the OP No.2 became helpless as it was mistake on the part of the complainants.

On evaluation of materials on record, the Ld. District Forum by the impugned order allowed the complaint with certain directions upon the OPs as indicated above. Being aggrieved, the OPs have come up in this Commission with the present appeal.

Ms. Suman Sehanabis, Ld. Advocate for the Appellants has submitted that the Ld. District Forum has failed to appreciate that the role of appellants was strictly restricted to booking the air tickets for the respondent and they had provided the respondents with a cheque list of guidelines wherein specific information regarding the requirement of VISA and other documentation which a traveller needs to fulfil before travelling abroad had been provided and as such no liability should be attributed upon the appellants.

Despite service of notice of the appeal upon the respondents on 06.02.2018, the respondents have not appeared to contest.

I have travelled through the documents available with the record and considered the submission advanced by the Ld. Advocate for the appellants.

Admittedly, the respondents in order to visit Bali (Indonesia) had been to the office of appellant no.1, a Government Authorised Travel Agency on 07.02.2014. There they were dealt with by appellant no.2, an employee of respondent no.1 travel agency. The respondents purchased an air ticket to Bali at the cost of Rs.55,000/-.

Now, it is alleged by the respondents that appellant no.2 named Shalini, an employee of appellant no.1 travel agency informed that they did not require Malayasian VISA if they do not leave the Kualalampur Airport and on reaching Bali, they will get the VISA on arrival. However, on reaching the Airport, the Airport authority did not allow the respondents to board the flight for not carrying VISA and resultantly, the entire trip got cancelled. Be it mentioned here that the respondents had also booked the hotels during their stay at Bali for which they have paid another sum of Rs.55,000/-.

The question arises whether the respondents had any idea to visit abroad without any VISA. The respondents have categorically stated that Shalini, appellant no.2 had informed them that in order to reach Bali via Kulalampur no VISA will be required and they will get the VISA on arrival at Bali. From the contents of written version itself, it would reveal that being disallowed by the Airport authority, the respondents immediately contacted to appellant no.2 and appellant no.2 has made contact with the Airport authority and tried to convince the Airport authority but as the rule does not permit to leave abroad without any VISA, the entire tour got cancelled.

The appellant no.1 travel agency cannot absolve their responsibility simply on the ground that their liability was only to a limited extent in selling tickets. What is gathered from the materials on record is that apart from selling tickets, the appellant no.1 travel agency has also arranged for booking of hotels. Therefore, the appellants should have been careful in informing the respondents about the necessity of obtaining VISA in case of visiting Bali. In this regard, the observation of the Ld. District Forum does not appear to me inconsistent with the facts and circumstances of the case – 'It is the duty of OPs to make enquiry whether they had passport or they get the VISAs for their visit to abroad, but ascertain all these facts, how the OPs provide tickets by accepting money from the complainants. Since the complainants were given an idea by the staff of OPs that if they do not leave Kualalmpur Airport, they will not require any VISA and in case of visiting of Bali, Kulalampur Airport VISA will be provided. The complainants after getting such information from OPs paid the amount for purchasing the tickets. Since OP No.1 is a Government authorised travel agent, it was presumed that complainants relied upon the programme settled by OPs and in response to the directions of OPs, hotels were booked through OPs'.

The reasons assigned by the Ld. District Forum in the facts and circumstances of the case appear to be justified. The Ld. District Forum has meticulously gone through the record and arrived at a conclusion with a reasoned order. Therefore, when there is no shortcoming or loophole in passing the order impugn

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ed, the impugned order based on proper reasoning should not be interfered with. In view of the above, the appeal is dismissed. The impugned order is hereby affirmed. The Respondents are at liberty to withdraw the amount of Rs.66,000/- deposited by the Appellants in this Commission in terms of Order No.03 dated 08.12.2017. The balance amount as per order of the Ld. District Forum must be paid within 30 days from date otherwise the respondents/complainants shall have scope to file execution application before the Ld. District Forum. The Registrar of the Commission is directed to send a copy of this order to the Ld. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Kolkata, Unit-I for information.