India-Gulf flights: Court asks DGCA representation to hear petition filed by expat group over unreasonable airfares

News Network
August 24, 2022

indiagulf.jpg

A High Court in India has asked a representation from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to hear a writ petition challenging the exorbitant prices of air tickets on flights operating between Gulf countries and India.

The petition, filed by Delhi-based political group Kerala Pravasi Association, in Delhi High Court challenged Rule 135(1) of the Aircraft Rules, 1937, stating that it is vague, arbitrary and unconstitutional.

The petition to the Court noted that airlines have been charging unreasonable, excessive, and prohibitive airfares for travel from the Gulf region countries to Kerala and the rest of India.

“Resultantly, Indian citizens who wish to travel to and from these countries primarily for employment, business, and education are facing grave impediments,” read the petition.

“Furthermore, it is submitted that such unreasonable and exorbitant airfares impose restrictions on air travel as a mode of transportation and, thereby, infringe the constitutionally protected rights of the Indian passengers to or from Gulf countries,” it added.

“I35. Tariff- (1) Every air transport undertaking operating by sub-rules (I) and (2) of rule 134 shall establish a tariff having regard to all relevant factors, including the cost of operation, characteristics of service, reasonable profit and the generally prevailing tariff.”

Although Rule 135(4) of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 (‘Rules’) empowers DGCA to issue directions to an airline in case it has established excessive tariff under Rule 135(1) or has indulged in oligopolistic practice; the said provision is rendered ineffectual on account of the arbitrary and unbridled powers given under Rule 135(1) of the Rules to the airlines to establish tariff.

The petitioners, Kerala Pravasi Association, seek urgent interim relief concerning tariffs established by the airline or the scrapping of Rule 135(1). According to senior members of the NRI association, this may be the first time a writ petition has been filed challenging rule 135(1). Kerala Pravasi Association is a political party registered with the Election Commission of India, and the group has chapters in various countries worldwide, including the UAE.

The petition on behalf of the NRI group was filed by senior Supreme Court advocate and managing partner at KNPM Law Kuriakose Varghese. Peak season India-UAE airfares can hike up to anything between Dh 1,500 to Dh 3,000, depending on the sector the passenger is flying. Kerala sector flights are among the most expensive, said Rajendran Vellapalath, the chairman of the Kerala Pravasi Association.

Varghese said, “The writ challenges Rule 135 (1) of Aircraft Rules, 1937. The pricing of airfares has to adhere to certain reasonable limits. Based on what the Court has ruled, we will not find a representation for the DGCA and take matters forward from there.”

Varghese said the practice of charging airfares based on market rates makes it highly lucrative and discretionary.

Vellapalath explained, “We are glad the High Court has not quashed our petition. Instead, we have been asked to speak with the DGCA. Based on their response, we are willing to take matters to the Supreme Court of India.”

However, while petitions of this nature have been filed before, not many courts get involved in such matters as they are tricky, stated Varghese.

“This is a matter of law being linked to economics. It is a very grey area of operation, and there is no transparency on the matter as stakeholders generally adopt a take it or leave it attitude, especially during peak travel time,” he added.

Moreover, several members of the Indian Parliament, community groups in the UAE, travel agencies, and other non-profit bodies have also raised this issue to no avail.

Vellapalath added, “When two countries are involved in bilateral discussions, the civil aviation governing body can determine what sort of fare needs to be levied on passengers travelling between the sectors. The government can place a minimum or maximum cap on the ticket prices.”

“The government capped prices on domestic flights during peak Covid-19. Why can’t the same be done for international airlines as well,” asked Vellapalath

According to Vellapalath, airlines have always maintained a lower capacity of operations between Gulf sectors to India during peak season. “The role of the government is to help its people, not allow airlines to make a profile. If there is a shortage of capacity, then let them increase it. The public must not be fleeced,” argued Vellapalath.

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
September 23,2022

bandh.jpg

Thiruvananthapuram, Sept 23: A Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus was vandalised as sporadic incidents of violence were reported in various parts of Kerala as the dawn-to-dusk hartal called by radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) was underway in the southern state on Friday.

In Thiruvananthapuram, one auto-rickshaw and a car were damaged allegedly by people supporting the state-wise bandh.

The hartal was called by the PFI to protest against the raids in the offices and residences of its leaders and their subsequent arrests on Thursday by the NIA and other agencies for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country, a charge rubbished by the outfit as a blatant lie. 

Local media reported that a petrol bomb was hurled at a vehicle which was carrying newspapers for distribution at Narayanpara in Kannur in the morning. In Alappuzha, KSRTC buses, a tanker lorry and some other vehicles got damaged in the stone pelting allegedly by those supporting the hartal call.

A 15-year-old girl and an auto-rickshaw driver suffered minor injuries in the stone pelting allegedly by PFI activists in Kozhikode and Kannur respectively. Meanwhile, Kerala police beefed up security in the state and issued directions to the district police chiefs to ensure law and order after the PFI called for a day-long state-wide hartal.

A statement issued by the police said stern action will be taken against those who violate the law. "All the policemen in the state will be deployed for the maintenance of law and order," the statement said. The PFI on Thursday had said a hartal will be observed in the state today "against the RSS-controlled fascist government's attempt to silence dissenting voices using the central agencies".

The hartal would be held from 6 am to 6 pm, A Abdul Sathar, state general secretary, PFI, had said in the statement.

On Thursday, PFI workers had taken out marches to the places where raids were carried out and raised slogans against the Centre and its investigating agencies. However, central forces were already deployed in all such places as part of strengthening security. Multi-agency teams spearheaded by the NIA had arrested 106 functionaries of the PFI on Thursday in near-simultaneous raids at 93 locations in 15 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country.

Kerala, where PFI has some strong pockets, accounted for the maximum number of 22 arrests, officials said. PFI state president C P Mohammed Basheer, national chairman O M A Salam, national secretary Nasaruddin Elamaram, former chairman E Abubacker and others were among those arrested. 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
October 3,2022

khamenei.jpg

Tehran, Oct 3: Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has severely censured the unrest that erupted in some parts of Iran following the death of a young woman, stating that the deadly riots were orchestrated in advance by the United States and the Israeli regime.

Ayatollah Khamenei, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, made the remarks on Monday as he addressed the joint graduation ceremony for the cadets studying in the academies of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Armed Forces.

“I state it clearly that these developments were planned by America, the Zionist regime and their acolytes. Their main problem is with a strong and independent Iran and the country’s progress. The Iranian nation proved to be fairly strong during recent events and will bravely come onto the scene wherever necessary in the future,” the Leader said.

“During the latest developments, injustice was done to the country’s law enforcement forces, the Basij and the Iranian nation. Of course, the Iranian nation emerged completely strong as it did before and will do so in the future,” he added.

Protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who fainted at a police station on September 16 and was later pronounced dead at a hospital, erupted first in her native province of Kurdistan and later spread to other parts of the country, including Tehran.

The protests soon turned into violent riots, with rioters going on the rampage across the country, attacking security officers, resorting to vandalism against public property, and desecrating religious sanctities.

According to a statement released by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry on Friday, the rioters have been backed by Western regimes and their mercenary media, who disseminated misinformation and distorted the sequence of events that led to Amini’s death even before the official investigation into the incident concludes.

Ayatollah Khamenei also said that although Amini’s death was heart-breaking, the ensuing riots were not natural as groups of people caused social disturbances on the streets, burnt copies of the Holy Qur’an, harassed veiled women, and set mosques, religious congregational halls and private cars on fire.

“If it were not for the young girl, they would have invented another excuse to create insecurity and trigger riots in the country on the first day of [the Persian calendar month of] Mehr this year,” he maintained.

“Many riots broke out across the world, including in Europe. There are riots every now and then in France and Paris in particular. But the question is: Has it ever been the case for the US president and the House of Representatives to support the rioters and make statements? Is there another case where they have sent messages and stated that they are with them? Is there another case where mass media affiliated with American capitalism and their mercenaries in the region, including the Saudis, have supported rioters in other countries? And is there a case where Americans have announced that we will provide certain internet hardware or software to rioters so that they can communicate easily with each other?” the Leader added.

Ayatollah Khamenei went on to say that such support has, on the contrary, happened several times in Iran, and clearly points to the fact that foreign powers are behind recent events in the country.

He underlined that Americans’ expression of regret for Amini’s death is artificial. “They are happy because of finding an excuse to foment insecurity,” he said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to the country’s progress in all sectors, efforts aimed at facilitating domestic production, activation of knowledge-based companies, and the country’s ability to neutralize Western sanctions.

“They (enemies) do not want such progress to happen in the country, and have plotted to close universities, create insecurity on the streets, and engage state officials with new issues in the northwestern and southeastern flanks of the country in order to stop the growth,” the Leader said.

He emphasized that enemies are gravely mistaken in their calculations, and their plots will not yield anything at all.

Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that the US is not only against the Islamic Republic but also against a strong and independent Iran, adding, “They are looking for Iran of the Pahlavi era, which obeyed their orders and was a milking cow to them.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution also pointed to the stances of some Iranian sports figures and artists regarding the latest riots in Iran, noting, “In my opinion, these positions are of no importance and one should not be sensitive about them.” 

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.
News Network
September 28,2022

garbadance.jpg

Ahmedabad, Sept 28: Bajrang Dal workers late Tuesday night thrashed several youths from a particular religion reportedly for trying to enter a 'garba' venue in Ahmedabad. Videos being circulated on social media show some youths being questioned about their religious identities and beaten up by the saffron brigade. 

One of the videos shows a person being stripped, punched, and kicked by half-a-dozen men in saffron scarves amidst the busy traffic. The person identifies himself as Salman Shaikh, and while pleading that he be allowed to go, says that he won't come back. The police said that they were verifying the authenticity of videos.

"We are aware of the videos and in the process of verifying those. As of now, there is no case filed since no one has come forward to lodge a complaint," B U Jadeja, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 7, Ahmedabad said. 

According to Bajrang Dal, the incident happened at R K Party Plot at Sindhu Bhavan Road in Ahmedabad on Tuesday night while they were "checking" identities of revellers in order to keep non-Hindus away from 'garba' venues. The nine-day Navratri festival began on Monday and like for the past several years, Bajrang Dal activists have been warning non-Hindus to stay away from 'garba' venues. 

Confirming the incident, president of north Gujarat, Bajrang Dal, said, "Our workers spotted these people from R K Party Plot on Sindhu Bhavan Road. While applying 'tilak' to everyone entering the 'garba' venue, we spotted four Muslims. I heard that there were some fights."

The saffron brigade claims that non-Hindus going to 'garba' is nothing but part of "love jihad". The organisation has submitted memorandums to district authorities in various parts of Gujarat for not allowing non-Hindus into 'garba' venues.

R K Party Plot owner Nirav Patel said that he was not aware of the incident as he had only rented his plot to an event management firm -- Sky Events. When contacted, Vedik Shah, who runs Sky Events, said that he did come to know about some fights last night but "it didn't occur at his event".

Comments

Add new comment

  • Coastaldigest.com reserves the right to delete or block any comments.
  • Coastaldigset.com is not responsible for its readers’ comments.
  • Comments that are abusive, incendiary or irrelevant are strictly prohibited.
  • Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name to avoid reject.