The Gujarat High Court has directed the Air India (formerly Indian Airlines) and the Airport Authority of India to pay compensation of over Rs. 6 crore to the family members of 34 victims of the plane crash near the Ahmedabad airport in 1988.

Twenty-one years after the crash of the IA Boeing 737, a division bench of the High Court comprising justices M. S. Shah and H. N. Devani, on Wednesday upheld the order of the lower court for hiked compensation to the 34 families.

As many as 131 people, including the crew members, were killed in the crash, but the families of 34 victims approached the lower court for higher compensation than the airlines authorities had paid, claiming that the accident was caused due to the negligence of the airlines and the airport authorities.

Pattern changed

While both the lower court and the High Court agreed with the contention, the High Court, however, changed the compensation pattern for the airlines and the airport authorities, making it 90 and 10 per cent respectively for the AI and AAI as against 70 and 30 per cent respectively ordered by the lower court.

The High Court also rejected the plea of the airlines and airport authorities to grant a stay on the operation of the compensation to allow it time to move the High Court against Wednesday’s order. It also asked the two agencies to calculate the hiked compensation amount at nine per cent interest per annum from 1989 when the families of the 34 of the victims had approached the lower court.