Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Credit Shell Facility Only For Passengers and Not for Travel Agents: Central Govt

The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its order on a plea seeking a refund for airline tickets booked during the Covid-19 lockdown after the Centre submitted that as per the "proposed formulation", the credit shell has to go to the account of the passenger, in whose name the ticket was issued.

The credit shell cannot be a lump sum amount paid by the travel agents to the airlines, which is only for pre-blocking of tickets and does not amount to purchase of tickets, the Centre said in its affidavit.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted before a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah, that the credit shell facility cannot be availed by travel agents who booked tickets during the lockdown.

"So far as travel agents are concerned, we cannot regulate them. We don't have control over it," he said.

The Centre, in its additional affidavit, said: "The travel agent, if any, involved in the purchase of any ticket on behalf of any passenger remains only a via media, leaving the principal contract between the airlines and the passenger only, which is the only mode recognised under the regulatory mechanism of the answering respondent."

The bench queried Mehta, if the credit shell is not used till the deadline, will the money get transferred in the agent's account. To this, he replied the government cannot control contractual obligations between passengers and agents.

"The DGCA (the Directorate General of Civil Aviation) and MoCA (the Ministry of Civil Aviation) are neither privies to nor a party to such contracts. It is respectfully submitted that these aspects are also beyond the regulatory ambit of the DGCA/MoCA and accordingly, the answering respondent can neither supervise nor regulate these private arrangements between the various airlines, travel agents, tour operators etc," said the affidavit.

28/09/20 IANS/News18

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