Today, the Supreme Court issued a notice in a plea seeking appropriate directions against airlines to refund of flight tickets, which was canceled due to the nationwide lockdown.
The petition filed by advocate Jose Abraham with NGO Pravasi Legal Cell submitted that the amount of the flights should be refunded which were booked during the lockdown and before the lockdown. Further, it was also argued that the amount collected by the airlines must be refunded to those who have booked their tickets before lockdown, but it was canceled due to a nationwide lockdown. The action of non-refund of the number of tickets which were collected by airlines due to cancellation was arbitrary and in violation of the Civil Aviation Requirement issued by the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
On 16.04.2020, The Ministry of Civil Aviation has directed the airlines to give a full refund without deducting the cancellation charges to the customers seeking cancellation of the flight tickets booked for both domestic and international during the lockdown period.
The Bench comprising of Justices NV Ramana, SK Kaul, and BR Gavai appeared to agree with this argument and sought a response from the Civil Aviation Ministry and the DGCA and observed that everyone is entitled to relief, whose flights was canceled due to lockdown. It does seem arbitrary that refunds are being issued only to those who booked tickets after the lockdown was enforced.