Holding Kuwait Airways guilty of negligence, inaction and passivity for not delivering the goods, the NCDRC asked it to pay Rs25 lakh for delaying the delivery of consignments of handicrafts to the US over 16 years ago
New Delhi: Kuwait Airways has been ordered by the apex consumer commission to pay Rs25 lakh as compensation to Rajasthan Art Emporium for delaying the delivery of its consignments of handicrafts to the USA 16 years ago, reports PTI.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) gave the order holding the airline guilty of "negligence, inaction and passivity" for not delivering the goods sent by the emporium to its US-based buyer, Williams Sonoma Inc, on time.
The NCDRC also observed that the emporium had paid air freight charges of Rs24.48 lakh, which was ten times more than the sea freight, so that the consignment could reach its buyer quickly.
"All the facts and circumstances clearly establish negligence, inaction and passivity on the part of opposite party 1 (Kuwait Airways). When the goods are not delivered within 7 days, the fault certainly lies at the door of the opposite party 1.
"The complainant paid air freight of Rs24.48 lakh, equivalent to $70,000, whereas the sea freight for the said cargo cannot be more than the $7,200. The complainant paid 10 times more so that there should be timely delivery of the goods in question. The sea cargo would have taken 25 to 30 days but the air cargo took more than 30 days," said the bench presided by Justice JM Malik.
The commission's order came on emporium's petition, which said the airline and its agent had failed to deliver its three consignments, weighing a total of 26,859.5 kgs, in seven days by 31 July 1996 as initially assured by them.
They had also failed to deliver the goods as per their revised delivery schedule, the emporium had alleged adding the goods reached its destination over a month late on 30 August 1996 instead.
Kuwait Airways had denied the allegations with its counsel arguing that there was no delay on its part as time was not the essence of the contract.
It had also said the goods had reached the destination on 23 August 1996, but had taken time in custom clearance and the airline cannot be held responsible for delay.
The commission, however, rejected the contention saying "in view of the rules and the fact that opposite party 2 (Daga Air Agents) admitted that the goods were to be sent on urgent basis, the question whether the time was the essence of the contract pales into insignificance."
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Banerjee said on enactment, the Companies Bill will be a boon for business, corporates, investors and stakeholders at large.
"The new law would strengthen the concept of shareholders democracy and offer protection of the rights of minority stakeholders," he said.
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