Nearly 10 years after Gopinath Deshpande from Mumbai was detained in Rome and had to spent a day in custody, he will now get back the return airfare for his journey from Newark to Mumbai via Rome as compensation for the humiliation he suffered then.
The airline, Alitalia, which no longer operates in India, had on November 8, 2001, re-scheduled Deshpande’s return journey via Rome, without checking with him whether or not he had a visa to enter Italy. Since he didn’t possess one, the airport security at Rome handed over him to the immigration authorities, and the airport police put him in custody for nearly 24 hours.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission last week said that the casual approach on part of the airline officials amounted to deficiency in service.
Anupam Dasgupta, presiding member of the commission, has, therefore, directed the airline to refund return airfare to the city resident by way of compensation towards the humiliation he had to face in Rome.
The national commission kept the amount of compensation limited to the extent of return airfare primarily considering the fact that the inconvenience and humiliation Deshpande had to face at Rome airport could not be attributed to the airline, though they were responsible for re-scheduling his return journey without checking with him about the visa.
Deshpande had alleged that he spent 24-hours in custody of Rome immigration authorities and the airport police, without food or water. The Chunabhatti resident had moved the national commission after Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission dismissed his complaint on March 10, 2008.
Deshpande had moved the state commission seeking Rs19 lakh towards compensation, squarely blaming the airline for the inconvenience and humiliation he had to face at Rome airport.