The Respondents as complainants filed a complaint before the District Forum, Nagapattinam alleging deficiency against the opposite parties and praying to refund Air Fair Rs.50,000/- with interest jointly or severally from the date of complaint, to pay Rs.2,00,000/- (each Rs.50,000/- with 12% interest from the date of complaint till the date of payment) and cost of the complaint. The District Forum allowed the complaint. Against the said order, this appeal is preferred praying to set aside the order of the District Forum, Nagapattinam, dt.27.03.2008 in C.C.No.35/2007.
After hearing the arguments of appellant side, finally on 24.1.2011, this Commission made the following order :
A.K.ANNAMALAI, PRESIDING MEMBER JUDICIAL
1. Appellants 1 and 2 are the opposite parties 1 and 2 before the District Forum.
2. The Respondents 1 to 4 filed a complaint against the appellants 1 and 2 and also against subsequently impleaded 5th respondent for the claim of return Air Fare for Rs.50,000/- and for Rs.2,00,000/- as compensation to the complainants for mental agony and deficiency of service and for costs. Before the District Forum, the appellants have stated that there was no deficiency of service and as the first complainant is a Government servant working in Revenue Department helped him in an humanitarian ground for securing the flight tickets and in no way connected with deficiency of service for not getting the confirmed tickets for the return journey and the 3rd opposite party was Travel agent, who had only arranged for the tickets and the complainant was informed about the unconfirmed status of the return ticket.
3. After the enquiry the District Forum allowed the complaint except for the relief of return of the fare of Rs.50,000/- by and ordered to pay Rs.50,000/- to each complainant (in total Rs.2,00,000/-) and cost of Rs.5,000/- along with 12% interest for the compensation and the complaint was dismissed against 3rd opposite party/5th respondent in this appeal.
4. Aggrieved by the District Forum?s order the present appeal is filed by the opposite parties 1 and 2 and in the grounds of appeal alleged that the District Forum failed to appreciate the importance of impleading 3rd opposite party as Travel agency and the appellants never misrepresented that the return ticket were also confirmed one and the first complainant being the Government servant suppressed the material documents before the Lower Forum to get undue advantage through illicit means. Since the complainants have returned from the tour by availing the same Airways Flight and question of granting compensation to the extent of Rs.2,00,000/- would amount to availing of tour to Dubai free of cost. The non availability of accommodation on a particular date will not be attributed to the deficiency of service when the complainants were accommodated with the same Airways on a previous date, there is no monetary loss and there cannot be any mental agony and thereby praying for allowing the appeal.
5. While considering bothsides arguments, averments and contentions and upon perusal of Exhibit A1 to A3 it is not in dispute that the complainants have avail as the service of 2nd opposite party through first opposite party represented by 2nd opposite party and thereby they travelled to Dubai on 9.5.07 through Thai Airways Flight and the only grievance expressed by the complainants is that instead of the ticket booked for 6.6.07 for return journey wrongly assured as confired and tickets supplied by opposite parties 1 and 2 but when it is came to know that the return ticket was not the confirmed one and was issued on the basis on ?request to be made? by marking the same as ?R.Q? the complainant was forced to prepone his tour from 6.6.07 to 1.7.07 and thereby reached India on 2.6.07. Regarding the question of deficiency in service even though it was alleged that the tickets were arranged through 3rd opposite party Akbar Travel Agency and after enquiry as the District Forum dismissed the complaint against 3rd opposite party and there was no appeal against the 3rd opposite party by the complainant and in this appeal also no relief sought against 5th respondent by appellants even though stated that 5th respondent was the Agency dealt with tickets. In this appeal we are concerned only with the 1st and 2nd opposite party and on perusal of documents Exhibits A1 to A3, Exhibit A1 is the Xerox copy for the amount of Rs.48,300/-paid towards cost of journey and Exhibit A2 is the Xerox copy of the e-mail sent by opposite parties to the complainant, in which it was clearly informed that the return ticket is holding confirmed at the time of issuance of the ticket and on due to peak Dubai Season, the ticket is automatically cancelled as the class is being the lowest one and by paying difference of amount for confirmed tickets in the higher class arrangements to be made. While considering the reply for Exhibit A2 sent by the 1st complainant to the 2nd opposite party among other things the first complainant has stated as follows :-
? If you would have told me that the ticket was wait listed and not confirmed I would not have gone ahead with the trip. I was mislead into believing that my ticket was confirmed for both ways.?
and further it is mentioned that and the complainant was not in a position to pay more while staying at the foreign land and at any cost he want to return to India before 8th June in order to rejoining his duty. From this exchange of e-mail letters it is clear that the 1st complainant who had traveled along with other complainants as his family members was under the belief that the return ticket also confirmed one by believing the tickets arranged by the 2nd opposite party for the journey and it was also admitted by the 2nd opposite party that the ticket was not confirmed due to peak hour season and it was only a ?R.Q? based ticket and thereby it is clearly established that there was deficiency of service while providing the tickets for journey to the complainants. However, since the complainants have returned to the country by availing the same Airways service by preponing the date of travel to, due to the availability of the tickets in the flight on the particular day with the help of staff of the Thai Airways and in this regard there is no question of refunding the air ticket will arise. As far as the compensation is concerned, the learned counsel for the appellants contended that the 2nd opposite party representing 1st opposite party is doing Exchange and Financial Service business contact person and arranging for the flight tickets for a meagre receipt of commission for the services rendered and they are not the Airways or Airlines to have the mode of controlling of issuance of tickets. The compensation awarded is no proportionate to the service rendered and thereby relied upon the ruling reported in 1(2006) CPJ page 450, in which it has pointed out that travel agent not authorized to issue confirmed ticket issued it despite the status being shown on computer otherwise and the agent suppose to issue tickets as per rules and regulations and they cannot act beyond the scope of authority given. Even though the above ruling is connected with the agents and the Airline Services and Air India, as far as our case is concerned, in view of the representation made by the counsel regarding the question of compensation to be considered and as the complainants have not suffered any monetary loss for the return travel except for having some trouble and sufferings to get the return tickets to be preponed with the help of Thai Airways Officials at Dubai as per his own contentions. The compensation awarded by the District Forum at the rate of Rs.50,000/- each is even without considering the age of the complainants 3 an
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d 4 who are minors and below 10 years awarded was without basis. This Commission feels that the compensation to be awarded with the normal proportion and thereby it is to be reduced to the extent of Rs.5,000/-each and in other respects the order of the District Forum to be confirmed. 6. In the result, the order of the District Forum, Nagapattinam in C.C.No.35/2007, dated 27.03.2008 is modified as follows, Opposite parties 1 and 2 jointly and severally are directed to pay a sum of Rs.5,000/-each as compensation (Total Rs.20,000/-) to the complainants through the first complainant, who is representing the other complainants within 8 weeks from the date of this order, failing which the compensation carries 9% interest from the date of order till realization and with a cost of Rs.5000/- in other respects the order of the District Forum needs no interference.