Saturday, November 02, 2019

Karnataka High Court’s verdict against Air India for violating rights of wheelchair user cheered

In July 2016, Dr Rajlakshmi, a wheelchair user and her mother Dr Sobha booked a conducted tour while travelling from Bengaluru to London in an Air India flight. Upon landing at the airport in London, the airline staffs denied them wheelchair assistance and other support due to which the mother and daughter had to cancel their travel plans. Last week, the Karnataka High Court ordered Air India to pay them both ₹ 20 lakh as compensation for lapses.

In July 2016, Dr Rajlakshmi and her elderly mother Dr Sobha booked for a conducted tour, and their flight was from Bengaluru to London. Dr Rajlakshmi, a wheelchair user, had clearly stated her demands with the travel agency and even insisted on getting special assistance and a wheelchair. Upon their entry at London's Heathrow Airport, Air India delayed offering them wheelchair assistance leading to the mother and daughter missing their flight to Scotland.

Air India also failed to provide them with any assistance due to which they underwent mental, physical and emotional trauma. Last week, the Karnataka High Court directed Air India to pay ₹ 10 lakh each to both Dr Rajlakshmi and Dr Sobha for the lapses. This latest verdict has been cheered by members from the disability community.

Instances of people with disabilities being harassed by airline and airport staff continue to be widely reported despite sensitisation drills. There was the recent case of disability rights activist and wheelchair user Virali Modi being asked to get up from her wheelchair and walk at the Delhi Airport. Even more recent was the harassment faced by disability rights activists Jeeja Ghosh and Kuhu Das at the Kolkata airport a couple of weeks back.
02/11/19 Newz Hook
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