The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to examine an important issue — to determine the minimum compensation payable by Air India to victims of air crash.
A Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra issued notice to the Centre and Air India on an appeal against an order of the Division Bench of the Kerala High Court, quashing the compensation of Rs. 75 lakh each awarded by a single judge to the victims of the Mangalore air crash in May 2010.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for petitioner S. Abdul Salam argued that the families of the victims should be compensated as per the Montreal Convention to which India was a signatory. He said as per the Convention, the petitioners were entitled to a compensation of one lakh SDRs (Special Drawing Rights) which was approximately Rs. 75 lakh. The Bench while seeking the response from the respondents posted the matter for final hearing in April.
A single judge of the High Court, acting on a petition filed by Mr. Salam, who had lost his son in the crash directed Air India to pay Rs. 75 lakh to each of the victims' families. However, the Division Bench quashed this order. The present appeal by Mr. Salam was directed against this.