[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Delhi High Court has directed chartered aircraft firm, Air Chartered Services Pvt Ltd and insurance company, United India Insurance Company, to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation each to the families of two doctors and a nurse who were killed in a plane crash while on a medical emergency flight in 2011.
A single judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait on May 22, 2019asked the Delhi-based chartered aircraft firm to pay Rs 7.5 lakh as per statutory liability under the Carriage by Air Act, 1972, and the insurance firm to pay Rs 42.5 lakh along with interest to the three families each within four weeks.
Background of the case
On May 25, 2011, seven people on board a medical ambulance flight from Delhi to Patna were killed when the aircraft crashed into a densely populated residential area of Faridabad. Three people on the ground were among the dead.
The airplane was ferrying a critically ill patient Rahul Raj, a young Patna-based businessman, to Apollo Hospital in New Delhi for further medical treatment.
The plane is said to have lost control and crashed from a height of around 8,000 feet fifteen minutes before landing. There was a severe dust storm at the time of the accident.
The present three petitions were filed by the families of Doctors Rajesh Jain and Sayad Arshad Abbas and Nurse Cyril P Joy who were working for Apollo Hospital in New Delhi.
The counsel for the aircraft company had claimed that the petitions were not maintainable because as per the Carriage by Air Act 1972, the petitioners were entitled to a fixed and specified compensation of Rs 7.5 lakh and the firm had obtained coverage of Rs 50 lakh from the insurance company.
“Appropriately, I am of the view that every passenger is entitled remuneration for a measure of Rs. 50 lakh,” Justice Kait said.