Kerala HC asks Air India to pay Rs 75 lakh compensation to Mangalore plane crash victims


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PTI

Kochi, 20 July 2011: The families of victims of the Air India Express crash in Mangalore last year are entitled to a minimum compensation of Rs 75 lakh each, the Kerala High Court held today. 

 

Justice P R Ramachandran Menon passed the order while allowing a petition filed by Abdul Salam and Ramla, parents of 24-year-old B Mohammed Rafi, who was killed in the crash.

 

158 passengers and crew on board the Air India aircraft from Dubai had perished in the worst air disaster in the last decade, when the plane caught fire after one of its wings hit a hillock before landing at Kenjar in Mangalore.

 

The deceased’s brothers and sisters are also party to the petition. Union government and National Aviation company (erstwhile Air India) are the respondents in the case.

 

There were 166 persons on board the flight IX-892, piloted by a Serbian national. Operating the Boeing 737-800, the pilot had first tried to land and later attempted to gain altitude.

 

The court held that the carrier was liable to pay no fault liability of one lakh SDR (Special Drawing Rights equal to Rs 75 lakh) to the petitioner. The SDR is a special currency issued by IMF. This is apart from whatever other compensation the petitioners are entitled to.

 

The petitioners prayed for a direction to settle the entire statutory claims made under the provision of the Air Act 1972 from the respondents on the death of Rafi. They had sought Rs 1.5 crore as compensation.

 

Noting that India was a signatory to the Montreal Convention, the court said, "It is clear that the intention of lawmakers was to bring about a parity in the matter of payment of compensation to the passengers, irrespective of class of travel, while providing for a ’two tier system’ of compensation as adopted in Montreal convention." 

 

 

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Comments on this Article
Benedict Noronha, Udupi Fri, July-22-2011, 10:46
The most welcome judgment of Kerala High court on the subject. It is a true interpretation and a just direction. Earlier when Mr H.D. Nanavathi( Mulla Mulla) was giving his views on the claims aspect misleading the public, my views were not considered publication by the press Media including Belle vision. I had categorical said Mr Nanavathi was wrong and misleading to keep back the legitimate amount and unnecessarily delaying settlement of claims. I had said that there cannot be variation in claim amount for a paid travelling passenger who was succumbed to the crash. Every one irrespctive of age and or income must be paid minimum compensation of India rupees 75.0 lakhs as per the montreal covention resolutions and Indian Government had accepted and incorporated it in the enactment. Any way, now the High court has given the decision. The Indian Air Lines Authority has said it is the liability.
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