Spread the love
  Air France v. O.P. Srivastava and Ors, 2018 
CITATIONAir France v. O.P. Srivastava and ors, 2018 SCC Online NCDRC 548: Manu/CF/0239/2018
COURTSupreme Court
BENCHJustice D.K. jain 


The case involves Air France appealing an order from the U.P. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The respondents, led by O. P. Srivastava, filled a complaint regarding boarding during a journey from Paris to Delhi. The State Commission ruled in favour of the respondents, directing Air France to pay compensation. The appellant challenges this order under Section 19 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, citing jurisdiction issues and contesting the complainants’ conduct. The State Commission rejected arguments on jurisdiction and held that the practice of overlooking dosen’t exempt the airline from responsibility.


  1. On November 5, 2002, the complainants, holding senior positions in the Sahara Group of companies, including Sahara Airlines, booked ‘H’ class confirmed air tickets with Air France for a journey from Delhi to Paris, scheduled for network 6 to November 9, 2002.
  2. Due to change in the schedule of a business meeting, the complainants requested a change in the return journey date from November 9, 2002, to November 10, 2002.
  3. On November 10, 2002, the complainants were denied boarding on Flight No. AF- 148 at Charles De’ Gaulle Airport in Paris due to overbooking. They were not allowed to board Air India Flight No. AI- 146, for which Air France had provided confirmed booking in the economy class.
  4. The complainants claimed they faced humiliation and embarrassment by Air France’s staff and as a result, they had to stay in Paris at their own expenses.
  5. The complainants asserted that due to this incident, valuable 24 hours were lost, impacting their business schedule and resulting in a monetary loss of rs. 50,00,000 to the Sahara Group of Companies.
  6. On December 28, 2002, the complaints issued a legal notice to Air France seeking compensation for the alleged loss, harassment, and humiliation.
  7. Subsequently, the complainants filed a complaint before the Uttar Pradesh State Commission, alleging deficiency in services by Air France and seeking the return of the excess amount charged on tickets, along with 24% compound interest and compensation of Rs. 50,00,000.


  1. Whether Complainants are “Consumers”?
  2. Whether Concealment regarding payment of Compensation at Paris?
  3. Whether such a practice is without prejudice to the interest of the travellers / Consumers?

Arguments on advanced 

Issue 1. Whether Complainants are “Consumer”?

In essence, the argument presented by the opposing party claiming that the complainants are not consumers is not persuasive. The complainants filled their grievance individually, asserting that the ‘denied boarding’ caused personal discomfort, inconvenience, and mental anguish, thereby making them eligible to seek damages under the International Monetral Convention.

Issued 2. Whether concealment regarding payment of compensation at Paris?

In essence, their acknowledgement of covering incidental expenses and stay arrangements, even if lacking specific details, absolves them of concealment guilt. By disclosing the minimum expected facility from ‘Air France’, any allegation of concealment seems misguided and is consequently dismissed.

Issued 3. Whether the practice is without prejudice to the interest of the travellers /consumers?

The pivotal issue revolves around whether the practice of overlooking is detrimental to the interests of travellers. The answer is resounding no, as endorsing unrestricted overbooking could lead to chaos, with airlines exploiting the practice beyond reasonable limits. Instead, airlines should establish stringent conditions for ticket cancellations, such as specifying a timeframe for passenger boarding. Allowing substantial refunds or profiting from excessive overbooking would create instability, lack of discipline, and unfair trade practices. While the terms and conditions of ticket booking may vary, excessive overbooking at the expenses of denied boarding passengers is neither justified nor acceptable.


In the final judgment, the appeal has been partly allowed. The appellant, Air France, is directed to deposit 50% of the amount awarded by the lower forum as a condition for staying the impugned order. From this deposit, a sum of Rs. 4,00,000/- is to be released to each of the complainants through demand drafts. The appellant is required to make up any shortfall in these amounts within four weeks. Any surplus amount, including accrued interest, will be refunded to the appellant. The statutory deposit made during the filling of the appeal will be transferred to the Consumer Welfare Fund.


It found deficiency in service on the part of Air France and directed them to pay Rs. 6,30,000/- to each of the three complainants, totalling Rs. 18,90,000/-, along with 10% p.a. interest within a month, and default stipulation of enhanced interest at 15% p.a. if  not paid within the stipulated period. The commission dismissed arguments related to territorial jurisdiction, consumer status, and other contentions raised by Air France. 


  1. https://indiankanoon.org/
  2. https://consumer-voice.org/

Written by Rani kumari an intern under legal vdihiya

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are intended solely for informational purposes. Accessing or using the site or the materials does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The information presented on this site is not to be construed as legal or professional advice, and it should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Additionally, the viewpoint presented by the author is of a personal nature.


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *