New Delhi, April 20: A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the central government and aviation regulator DGCA to ensure that the airlines refund the full amount of air tickets cancelled during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The plea which has been filed by the Pravasi Legal Cell has also requested the court to declare the action of the airlines not refunding the full amount illegal and violative of the Civil Aviation Requirement issued by the DGCA, The Financial Express reported. 

The development comes in the wake of the extension of nationwide lockdown by PM Modi on Tuesday. The airlines had said that they will not refund the amount of the cancelled tickets and passengers can book their tickets in the next schedule when the restrictions on air travel have been lifted.

The petition has contended that instead of providing the full refund, the airlines are providing a credit shell valid up to a year which violates the guidelines of the DGCA issued in 2008. The petitioner has also said that according to the 2008 DGCA guidelines, accepting the credit shell is the prerogative of the passengers and cannot be enforced mandatorily by the airlines.

Apart from taking on the airlines, the petition has also challenged the office memorandum issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on April 16. 

According to the PIL, the memorandum had directed airlines to refund the full amount of cancelled tickets only in case of those passengers who had booked their tickets during the first lockdown without charging any cancellation fee. 

Terming the memorandum “ambiguous and devoid of logic”, the petition has said that the memorandum leaves a vast majority of passengers in the lurch who had booked their tickets before the first lockdown.

The petition has further said that the airlines issued the credit shell on the basis of the government memorandum which is in clear contradiction with the earlier guidelines issued by the DGCA.

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