The PIL urged the court to direct the authorities to frame “guidelines so as to put a cap on airfares and prevent the private airlines here from charging arbitrarily, irrationally and exorbitantly for air flights”.
Advocate Amit Sahni, in his plea, which is likely to be heard next week, stated that he had filed an RTI application seeking information regarding airfares and Ministry of Civil Aviation replied that these are not controlled by the government.
Citing recent Jat agitation in Haryana, which reportedly forced some passengers to pay over Rs 90,000 for their journey, the plea said if there would have been a cap, the airlines could not charged such huge amount.
“The private airlines companies have fleeced people even in emergent situation and the government has stood as a mute spectator regarding the same,” the plea said, adding there is “urgent need to regulate the upper limit of airfares so that the private airlines could not fleece their customers as per their own wish.”
Capping of airfares in the backdrop of the passengers complaints of arbitrary tariff hikes was recently ruled out by the government which had said competition among airlines would take care of the problem.
The ministry had reportedly said restricting the airfares will not make good business sense as it could also jeopardise the government’s regional connectivity plan as such a move may discourage airlines to fly on non-profitable routes.
In his plea, the counsel stated “it is totally unfair on the part of respondents (Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Director General of Civil Aviation) to state that they cannot regulate the airfare thereby leaving the entire decision upon private companies to decide airfare as per their on wish.