Government has decided not to challenge the Kerala High Court order asking Air India to give proper compensation to the next of kin of the victims of Mangalore air crash which claimed 158 lives.

“We welcome the Kerala High Court order to grant compensation of Rs 75 lakh each to the families of the Air India Express’ Mangalore crash victims. We have also directed Air India to ensure that the insurance companies settle the payments expeditiously,” Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi told PTI.

Mr. Ravi responded to a question on the issue via e-mail as he was unable to take phone calls because of illness, his office said.

A senior Air India Express official, who wished not to be named, also justified the Civil Aviation Ministry decision saying “it is not fair on part of the government to challenge against the court order given on compassionate grounds.” He also pointed out that there was no financial implication for Air India but the insurance firms.

“We have already disbursed a total of Rs. 57 crore as compensation to the next of kin of 74 victims and there has been no dispute over it,” the official said.

On July 20, the Kerala High Court had ordered Air India to pay Rs. 75 lakh to each to the next of kin of the 158 victims of the Mangalore air crash on May 22 last year. The Air India management was then learnt to have been contemplating challenging it in the Supreme Court.

If the insurer does accept the government view, then it would have to shell out around Rs. 118.5 crore as compensation. Out of this Rs. 57 crore has already been paid as interim compensation, airline sources said.

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