Following a complaint seeking compensation from an airline for refusing to accept Aadhaar card as a valid document for travel to Nepal, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission held that Aadhaar cannot be construed as “any other ID issued by the Government of India” for travel to the country.
The observations came after contentions put forth by the complainant that the Aadhaar card falls within the category of “any other” ID issued by the government that is required for identification purposes at the time of issuance of boarding passes.
“This argument is erroneous. As Aadhaar number is a 12-digit random number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India to the residents of India after satisfying the verification process laid down by the Authority and [it] can in no manner be construed to be ‘any other ID issued by the Government of India’ in the specific context of it being an acceptable travel document to travel to Nepal,” the Bench held.
₹10,000 cost imposed
Taking note of the fact that the Bureau of Immigration “specifically proscribes” the use of Aadhaar as a valid travel document to Nepal and Bhutan, the NCDRC dismissed the complaint while imposing cost on the complainant for moving a “frivolous” complaint.
“The complaint is dismissed with stern advice of caution to the complainant through the imposition of ₹10,000 to be deposited by the complainant with the Consumer Legal Aid Account of the District Forum... the objective being to emphasise that consumer protection fora are not meant to be tools for creating nuisance by filing frivolous and vexatious complaints,” the consumer panel observed.
The directions came while the apex consumer disputes redressal forum was hearing an appeal moved by SpiceJet against orders of the district forum and state commission that had allowed the complaint against the airline.