Ten years after fruit vendor Mulloli Muhammadali’s life was ‘ruined’ because of a 12-hour delay in flights to Bahrain, the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered Air Lanka to pay him Rs 75,000 as compensation for the delayed journey.
A division bench commission comprising Presiding Judicial Member PN Kashalkar and Member SP Lale has also ordered Air Lanka to pay the city resident Rs 5,000 towards cost of the litigation.
The fruit vendor did not only lose the means of his livelihood, but was also detained for five days by immigration authorities in Bahrain as his visa lapsed before he could reach the Gulf country.
Muhammadali had reserved tickets for Bahrain with the Sri Lankan national carrier. But delays amounting to about 12 hours led to Muhammadali reaching Bahrain after his visa expired.
He was detained at Bahrain airport for five days and lost his fruit vending business.
“Normally we would not have granted any compensation for mere delay in flights, but we
can not overlook when the passenger is completely ruined due to the delays,” observed the bench.
Muhammadali had sought Rs 14 lakh as compensation, holding Air Lanka responsible for his plight — the delays followed by his detention at Dubai airport and loss of his fruit vending business.
The consumer commission discarded Air Lanka’s defence that the flights were delayed due to technical snags, as the Sri Lankan national carrier failed to submit any technical data pertaining to the delays.
“Delay of more than seven hours on Mumbai–Colombo sector and another delay of more than five hours for a flight from Colombo to Dubai is hardly justifiable,” the bench further observed.
The consumer forum also came down heavily on international flight operators like Air Lanka saying, “If flights operated by any airline causes delays of this nature, then it is better for such airline to stop their flights altogether.”