SC notice to Centre, DGCA on plea for full refund of cancelled air tickets due to lockdown

The Supreme Court sought responses from the Centre and DGCA on a plea seeking directions to airlines operating domestic and international fights in India to refund full amount collected for tickets due to cancellation of flights in wake of the lockdown and restrictions imposed to contain COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
As reported by The Economic Times, a bench of Justices N V Ramana, S K Kaul and B R Gavai, which heard the matter through video-conferencing, issued notices to the Centre and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on the plea which has urged the court to declare the alleged action of airlines of not refunding entire value of cancelled air tickets as violative of the civil aviation requirement issued by the authority. 
 
"It is submitted that the airlines instead of providing the full refund of the amount collected for the tickets due to cancellation, are providing a credit shell, valid upto one year, which is clear in violation of the Civil Aviation Requirement of May 2008 issued by the DGCA which clearly states that 'the option of holding the refund amount in credit shell by the airlines shall be the prerogative of the passenger and not a default practice of the airline," said the plea, filed by the NGO, 'Pravasi Legal Cell'. 
 
Referring to the earlier prevalent practice, it has said in case of credit card payments, refund shall be made by the airlines within seven days of the cancellation to account of the credit-card holder and in case of a cash transaction, the refund shall be "made immediately" by the airline office from where the ticket was purchased. 
 
The Civil Aviation Requirement of May 2008 sets a limit of 30 working days for airlines to complete the refund process for tickets booked through travel agents/portals, the plea has said. 
 
The plea has referred to the April 16 office memorandum of the Ministry of Civil Aviation which deals with refund of ticket amount collected without levy of cancellation charge. 
 

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