IRDA cracks down on policy surrender

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A draft paper issued by the...

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Air Carnival and Zav Airways are new entrants in Indian airspace!

It appears that Zav Airways plans to enter the Eastern and North Eastern regions to cater to their needs, while Air Carnival will be based in the south

GM Siddeshwara, minister of state for civil aviation told the Parliament that the government has cleared two regional airlines, Air Carnival and Zav Airways, which are expected to launch their services once all other formalities have been completed.


Air Carnival and Zav Airways were given approval on 24th and 30th June, respectively. It appears that Zav Airways plans to enter the Eastern and North Eastern regions to cater to their needs, while Air Carnival will be based in the south. More details are expected to be announced in due course.


In a recent press conference by Air Asia's top executives, Mittu Chandilya, chief executive, confirmed that, already the Bangalore-Goa sector has turned profitable. They anticipate Air Asia to break even by December this year but this can only be delayed if there are delivery bottlenecks for the aircrafts ordered. Meantime, plans are afoot to launch the next sector, Bangalore-Chennai soon, followed by Bangalore-Cochin on 20th July. They have indicated that they may have to have more than one hub though they are happy starting with Bangalore.


In a separate interview, both Ratan Tata and Tony Fernandes have reiterated that Air-Asia and Tata-SIA would not be "competitiors". This only means that, in the long run, possibly they will be able to complement each other in servicing' public needs.


Tomorrow, on 10th July, the Delhi High Court is expected to hear the case filed by Federation of Indian Airlines against Air Asia. It may be recalled that Dr Subramanian Swamy had spearheaded the attack and other domestic airlines, most of whom are reported to be operating at a loss with heavy loan burden, are dead against this no-frill low-price customer-friendly airline.


Should the verdict goes against Air Asia, they may have to stop the flights or appeal against the same. Both the airline and the passengers expect the verdict to be favourable.


Indigo, India's largest domestic airline, have plans to go in for an IPO soon, in the next few months to take care of their financial needs, as reported in the press. Further announcement, on this score, is expected shortly.


Other domestic airlines continue to offer cut-throat rates, such as the Rs999 rate for 10 lakh seats announced today by Spicejet for travel between 6th January and 24 October 2015. One wonders what purpose is being solved by such moves? This may keep the flights full but coffers may remain empty without profits. Losses can only mount unless they have devised ways and means to increase profits.


Whether the Federation of Indian Airlines welcome both Air Carnival and Zav Airways remains to be seen!


(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)


Confusing? Move the Court of Law

What does one do when one cannot understand, or is not privy to, instructions? Information that, in certain cases, can be crucial, even life-threatening. Is a legal process the only way out?

Two recent judgements in the USA have made history. The courts’ findings in both these cases assume significance, especially given the pedantic, obfuscatory and convoluted language that we are subjected to in our country. Let us discuss one of these orders. We are bombarded with a torrent of information every day which is not always possible to comprehend or digest. It appears on product packaging, insurance forms, important documents (like guarantees, warrantees and contracts) and even on medicine and food packaging.

Ever tried reading everything printed on that shiny, corrugated foil? Ever wondered why professionals write the way they do? Lawyers write in legalese; chartered accountants write in a style that only the income-tax officer understands. Doctors consider all communications secret, save that which the compounder or the pharmacist can read. What is a lay person like me supposed to do? Grin and bear it and hope for the best?

What manufacturers forget is that judges too use products available in the market. And, given a chance, they will hit back. Not only for themselves, but for the public at large. A Chicago judge was asked to decide on the clarity of the language in a money demand letter. One Mr Bartlett had a credit card. The credit card company wanted him to pay up. The company’s lawyer, a Mr Heibl, obviously well-versed in prose and verse, sent Mr Bartlett a letter demanding payment.

Mr Bartlett did not pay. And pray, why, may we ask? Mr Bartlett said he could not understand the contents of the letter. It was Greek and Latin to him. So now what?

You be the judge.

The company sued for payment. It won the first round in a trial court. Mr Bartlett, obviously, understood that court’s order in the language it was written and, therefore, appealed. The matter went to, if I may say so, a very sensible judge. He opined, “But the courts, our own included, have held, plausibly enough, that it is implicit that the debt collector may not defeat the statute’s purpose by making the required disclosures in a form or within a context in which they are unlikely to be understood by unsophisticated debtors who are the particular objects of the statute’s solicitude.” UNLIKELY TO BE UNDERSTOOD—the bon mots!

There is, in law, a very funny term. A reasonable man**. In my 73 years, I have found only one such person. Myself. I am sure most readers will say the same thing about themselves. Why does law refer to a ‘reasonable man’ and not one with ‘common sense’? Maybe because common sense is, in fact, very uncommon. Therefore, the law presumes that ‘a reasonable man’ is an average person. He is the standard that judges weigh evidence for or against.

In the matter on hand, the judge found the demand letter difficult to be understood by a layman. Of course, he did not let Mr Bartlett off the hook, but remanded the matter to the trial court. He also wrote a sample letter, in his judgement, in plain English. It told Mr Bartlett that he owed money and had so many days to pay. We reproduce it here for its lucidity.

Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to [email protected]


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