Delhi

What if hospitals hike charges like airlines, HC asks DGCA

Criticises practice of carriers levying exorbitant airfares in adverse situations

Which institutions other than airlines encash on the difficulties of the public, the Delhi High Court asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday, referring to the practice of airlines hiking price of tickets when road and rail services are affected.

The court’s sharp comment came while hearing a couple of public interest petitions highlighting the arbitrary and exorbitant price of air tickets during emergent situations.

“Name any other institution, it may be hospitals, schools anything, which behaves like airlines. Are there any other institutions which are encashing on the difficulties of the public at large. Who are encashing on the negative situation,” asked a Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and C. Hari Shankar.

Final hearing in Nov.

“Think about it and answer,” the Bench told the counsel for DGCA before posting the case for final hearing in November.

The Bench further reminded the counsel, “What will happen if hospitals start charging extra during the time of seasonal diseases? What will happen if medicines are being sold at an increased rate?”

The Bench’s remarks came after the DGCA counsel said that airfares fixation does not fall within the regulator’s ambit.

“We cannot interfere in pricing of airfares. We are only regulating the safety and security of the airlines,” the DGCA’s counsel submitted.

One of the petitions, filed by advocate Amit Sahni, urged the court to direct the authorities to frame “guidelines so as to put a cap on airfares and prevent private airlines from charging arbitrarily, irrationally and exorbitantly for flights”.

Mr. Sahni’s petition cited the 2016 Jat agitation in Haryana, during which private airlines allegedly charged exorbitant airfares from passengers.

The other petition was filed by activist Bejon Kumar Misra seeking direction to the Civil Aviation Ministry and the DGCA to ensure refunds or provide alternative travel mode to passengers who had booked tickets with the Jet Airways before it shut all domestic and international flights.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 3:37:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/what-if-hospitals-hike-charges-like-airlines-hc-asks-dgca/article28494480.ece

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