Sitar maestro Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan filed a complaint at the Consumer Dispute Forum Unit 1 in the Kolkata city against a private airline under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. In his complaint, the Padma Shri awardee has alleged that the airline is to blame for deficiency in service, unfair trade practices, negligence, professional incompetence and causing him harassment and mental agony. The matter has been fixed for admission before the Consumer Forum on Monday, said the Ustad’s counsel. Through his complaint, the artist has claimed damages from the airline.
Through a travel agent in Kolkata, Khan had purchased two e-tickets for himself and his son to travel from Lucknow to Pune by GoAir flight No G8-352 on December 4, 2010. The flight was scheduled to depart at 8.30am. The maestro has claimed in his complaint that he and his son reached the airport well in advance but came to know that the flight had taken off at 6.25am. “Ustadji called up the GoAir helpdesk, but the customer care executive put him on hold for more than 15 minutes before informing him that the flight had got preponed and departed Lucknow at 6.25am. Nobody responded to his distress calls. Ustadji is respected across the world for his music and it was agonising for him when airline officials denied his legitimate claims of having no knowledge of the preponement,” his counsel said.
The sitarist claims that he sent several e-mails to GoAir. He received only one reply in which it was claimed that he had been informed about the changed schedule by SMS and automated phone call/auto blaster. Khan denies that he received any call or message. He is being represented by advocates Mohan Krishna Ghosh and Soumya Mukherjee.
“Our client has contended that vital information was not brought to his notice. This is evidence enough that there was negligence on part of the airlines. We have also pointed out the timings printed on the e-tickets. The documents claim that the flight would take off from Lucknow at 8.30am, make a stopover at Delhi and land at Pune at 10.20am, which is 1 hour 50 minutes after take-off. In reality, the flight should have taken 1 hour 5 minutes to reach Delhi from Lucknow and a further 2 hours 5 minutes to fly from Delhi to Pune. The total time mentioned should have been at least 3 hours 10 minutes. This goes to show professional incompetency on the part of the airline. Ustadji sent a legal notice dated September 9, 2011, to the airline but there was no response,” his counsel said.
Khan has prayed for directions that will make it necessary for airline companies to wait for a confirmation from passengers before assuming that all of them have come to know of any change in schedule.
GoAir officials in Kolkata said they were not aware of the matter. “We shall react only after we receive directions from the court,” an official said.