Fixing airfare a complex phenomenon, policy decision of Central govt: Delhi HC

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New Delhi [India], June 5 (ANI): Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea seeking directions to set aside an order fixing minimum air travel charges and said that fixing airfare is a complex phenomenon and a policy decision to be taken by the Central government. A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan made the observation while disposing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Veer Vikrant Chauhan seeking direction to set aside an order of the Ministry of Civil Aviation fixing minimum airfare for travel. The court said that at a time when various restrictions have been placed on airlines and a maximum limit for airfare is given by the government, the minimum fare is also prescribed so as to strike a balance between the passengers as well as the airline agencies. It is a policy decision and this court is not inclined to interfere in this policy decision and that too by the way of a public interest litigation, the court said in its order. "It ought to be kept in mind that the problem being faced by everyone during this pandemic situation is such a unique phenomenon, which requires experimental solutions. There cannot be any mathematical solution for a problem like this. The government has to be given a degree of free movement in joints. We are, therefore, not going into the merits of this case," it added. The PIL, moved through advocates Vineet Malhotra, Vishal Gohri and Shubhendu Kaushik, sought directions to set aside the MoCA order dated May 21, 2020, wherein it fixes the minimum airfare for travel from point A to point B and also directed that minimum fare which can be charged should also be applicable to travel ports and travel agents and other agents who are selling tickets. After the conclusion of the arguments, the bench observed that the exercise of tariff fixation, and economic matters in general, are issues on which the court would generally refrain from exercising jurisdiction unless found to be totally arbitrary or unreasonable. "We are not sitting in appeal against such fixation of minimum and maximum fare. It ought to be kept in mind that this fixation of minimum and maximum fares is for the journey to be performed only for essential purposes," the order said. "Section 8B(1) of the Aircraft Act, 1934 specifically clothes the Central government with the power to take necessary measures to minimize the possible danger to public health in the event of an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic," it added. The court said that in the present coronavirus situation, the exercise of this power by the respondents cannot be said to be arbitrary or unreasonable. (ANI)