NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Centre and Air India on a petition filed seeking a minimum Rs 75 lakh compensation for each of the 158 victims of the May 2010 Mangalore air crash.
A Bench comprising Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Misra directed the Union of India and the Air India to file their affidavits in this regard and posted the matter for final hearing in April.
The Bench was hearing a petition filed by Abdus Salam who had lost his son in the crash. Salam’s son Rafiq was working in Dubai and was coming home when the crash occurred. Salam moved the apex court challenging the judgment of the Kerala High Court which had set aside a Single Judge order directing the national carrier to pay a minimum compensation of `75 lakh to the families of each of the victims.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioner, requested the Bench to direct the Air India and the government that the victims’ families should be paid according to the Montreal Convention to which India is a signatory. As many as 150 passengers and crew onboard the flight from Dubai died when the aircraft caught fire after one of its wings hit a hillock at Kenjar in Mangalore on May 22, 2010.
The order of the Kerala High Court was set aside by the Division Bench of the High Court on an appeal by Air India. The Division Bench had held that the airline was liable to pay only actual damages proved by the claimants in case of death and the victims in case of injury. The liability can be determined through negotiated settlement or by a civil court having competitive jurisdiction, the HC ruled.