"In the interests of Indian passengers"
Provisions to be on a par with Montreal ConventionWill help avoid discrimination between Indians and others
NEW DELHI: The Cabinet on Thursday approved introduction of a bill in the Budget session of Parliament, which aims at ensuring swift compensation for death or injuries caused to those flying in and out of India in line with international norms.
The bill that would amend the Carriage by Air Act, 1972, also seeks to bring the compensation for damage to baggage and air cargo on a par with the provisions of the Montreal Convention of 1999. Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi told reporters that legislation would provide the benefits of higher compensation and fifth jurisdiction to international air passengers travelling to and from India.
An international legal regime, called the Warsaw System, governs the liability of airlines for injury or death of passengers or destruction, loss or damage to baggage and cargo. It also covers the losses caused by delay in international carriage of passengers, their baggage or cargo.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation, based in Montreal, launched an initiative in 1994 to carry out a socio-economic study of the compensation levels, following which the Montreal Convention was adopted.
Since a large number of flights operate between India and several countries that have ratified the Montreal Convention, its non-accession by India could lead to serious discrimination between Indian and other passengers even if they were on the same flight.
It could lead to a situation where the passengers whose journey originated from the United States or United Kingdom would be entitled to a much higher compensation compared to those whose travel originated from India. As such a situation was against the interests of Indian passengers, the government decided to bring in the necessary amendments to the law, Mr. Dasmunsi said. .