New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday fixed July 16 as the next date of hearing on a plea which sought a full refund of airfare to passengers affected by the suspension of Jet Airways services.

In this regard, the court has also sought a reply from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Ministry of Civil Aviation. As per the plea, Jet Airways should either refund the airfare or provide an alternative travel mode for passengers who have booked tickets with Jet Airways (India) Ltd., which has temporarily suspended its domestic and international flights. The plea was filed by activist Bejon Kumar Misra.

The plea noted that the sudden suspension of air services of Jet Airways had resulted in a major crisis for the passengers who weren’t informed about it earlier. The plea, filed through advocates Shashank Deo Sudhi and Shashi Bhushan, said, “It is common knowledge that all competitor airlines have exorbitantly increased their airfares and the toothless and vulnerable consumers are constrained to suffer not only in terms of money but also in terms of mental harassment of unprecedented scale.”

Citing media reports, the plea said that over Rs 360 crore of the passengers/consumers’ hard-earned money was under threat due to non-refund of ticket value. “The passengers have to not only purchase alternative tickets at a highly exorbitant cost but also go through lots of anxieties and mental agony. This has resulted in profiteering by other airlines at the cost of the passengers and till date no relief has been announced by the respondents (Ministry and DGCA),” the plea claimed.

“It is on record that such a situation was existing for more than two years, but was intentionally allowed by the authorities without any concern for passengers and other affected parties.” Further, the plea said that an amendment to the existing laws and appointment of an effective regulator is needed to protect the interests of passengers and regulate airfares transparently to avoid such events in future.

(With agency inputs)