Victims’ families push for more compensation

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Victims’ families push for more compensation

Some families of Mangalore plane crash victims are pushing for an out of court settlement for higher compensation than the Rs7.5million payment envisaged in Montreal Convention

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Published: Sun 28 Aug 2011, 11:31 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:41 PM

Even as the legal battle for a fair payout will be taken to the Indian Supreme Court soon.

According to the President of the Mangalore Air Crash Victims’ Families Association Mohammed Beary, 48 families, who had engaged a Swedish law firm for negotiations with the Air India’s underwriters, are still negotiating with Air India’s insurance arbitrators for a payout higher than Rs7.5millon equaling the 100,000 SDR (Special Drawing Rights) stipulated as minimum compensation to the dependents of air crash victims.

Speaking to Khaleej Times from Mangalore on Sunday, Beary said this came under the clause in Montreal Convention that the compensation should be more than Rs7.5million if an error by the airline, its pilot or other employees caused the accident. And it could be decided through negotiations. “Since the pilot’s error has been established, naturally, our compensation has to be more than Rs7.5million,” he said.

At the same time, the rest of the families, excluding those who have accepted the final compensation offered by Air India, are pinning their hopes on India’s Supreme Court where a Kerala High Court verdict would be challenged soon.

A division bench of the High Court on Thursday upheld Air India’s appeal and set aside the order of a single judge, which held that a minimum of Rs7.5million would be payable in respect of the death of each passenger in the May 2010 Air India Express Dubai-Mangalore flight crash.

Beary said the Association has decided to challenge the division bench’s verdict at the Supreme Court by supporting the petitioners Abdul Salam and Ramla who had lost their son in the crash. “We are moving the Supreme Court to get a correct interpretation of the Montreal Convention and related laws. The main reason for losing the case in the High Court is that the petition was filed before the pilot’s error was established,” he pointed out.

Abdul Rahman, a Dubai resident who lost his wife and son in the crash, said the latest verdict undermined the fault by the airline. “We will continue this battle in all possible manners so that justice is done to the poor families,” Rahman said.

Beary said a meeting of the Association members would be held soon to decide the future course of action. “We want to make sure that those who didn’t give their cases to the Swedish firm and also those who were forced to accept the final compensation under difficult circumstances also get just compensation.”

Kodoth Sreedharan, the lawyer who represented the petitioners in the High Court, said an appeal would be filed in the Supreme Court after receiving the certified copy of the judgement issued by the Division Bench of Kerala High Court.

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