Relief for kin of crash victims: Air India plea rejected

July 9th, 2011 - 11:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Gandhinagar, July 9 (IANS) The Gujarat High Court has dismissed the appeal of Air India challenging the compensation awarded to the families of 130 people killed in a crash near Ahmedabad in 1988.

In a judgment made available Saturday, the division bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice R.M. Chhaya dismissed Air India’s appeal against a trial court’s 2009 judgment directing the airline to pay Rs.7.80 lakh, with interest, each to the families of those killed.

Air India Limited - which was previously known as National Aviation Company of India Ltd. (NACIL) - challenged the trial court’s order on grounds that the plea seeking compensation was filed after a long delay.

The bench said the petition was meritless and deserved to be rejected.

“The aspects of liability to pay compensation are already covered by the decision of this court in the case of Airport Authority of India versus Shirishbhai Shah (reported in 2010). The appeal is meritless. Hence, the same is dismissed.”

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad Indian Airlines flight crashed Oct 10, 1988. All the passengers and crew perished, with only a solitary survivor.

The court said counsel appearing for the airlines was not able to show any distinguishing aspect on merits to the extent of liability in this case and the decision of this court in an earlier case of the Airport Authority of India. He said the earlier matter was before the Supreme Court.

Airline’s counsel Mihir Joshi raised the issue of limitation and submitted that this issue was not dealt with in the earlier suit which came to be decided by the civil court and was confirmed by the high court.

He claimed that the suit filed by the family of one of the victims could be said as barred by limitation inasmuch as the maximum permissible period of two years was over on the date when the civil suits were presented before the civil court for damages.

The high court rejected his submissions and dismissed the petition.

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