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Supreme Court directs Centre to clarify on modalities of refund to passengers and agents

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A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking refund of the entire amount of air tickets already booked for the journey during the lockdown period. The petition demanded that flights could not be filled due to the lockdown, so full refunds of booked air tickets were received.

The Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah had asked the Central Government to file a new affidavit detailing the mode of refund. The Court has now sought clarification after the Air Travel Passenger Association, travel agents and airlines questioned the refund proposed by the DGCA.

The Centre told the SC that this is an extraordinary situation, that is why anyone is having to bear the brunt of it. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the court that a new affidavit will be filed with all the explanations of the affidavit filed.

On 25 September, the Supreme Court will hear the case again. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has clarified that it will ask for a full refund on air tickets booked before lockdown, for travel by May 24 on all national and international routes

For this, DGCA has classified the passengers into three classes:

1) For those booking before lockdown for the period up to 24 May, the refund credit will be governed by the shell scheme and subsequent incentives.

2) For bookings made for the journey during lockdown, refunds will be made by the airlines immediately because the airlines were not to book such tickets.

3) Refunds for bookings made for travel on dates after 24 May will be governed by the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR).

By Priya Kumari