New Delhi: Low-cost airline SpiceJet has been directed by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 15,000 as token compensation to its passenger for serving him non-vegetarian food instead of vegetarian preferred by him. The South West District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum held the airline deficient in service for mistakenly serving non-vegetarian sandwich instead of vegetarian, and also pulled up the complainant for claiming compensation of Rs 4.5 lakh, saying his demand "is motivated by greed".
"From bare perusal of the admission made by opposite party in their email of June 16, 2009 (to complainant) it stands proved the crew in the aircraft mistakenly served the complainant with non-vegetarian sandwich instead of vegetarian.. This lone fact is sufficient to constitute deficiency in service. The claim for exaggerated amount as compensation by the complainant is not commensurate with their (airline's) negligence. We find compensation of Rs 4.5 lakh claimed in the complaint before us is capricious and is motivated by avarice for undue enrichment," a bench presided by Narendra Kumar said.
The forum directed the airline to pay Rs 10,000 as "token" compensation to complainant BC Mathapati, a resident of Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, along with Rs 5,000 as cost of litigation. Mathapati had alleged that when he had travelled on the airline from Bangalore to Delhi on June 8, 2009, he was served a non-vegetarian sandwich instead of the vegetarian food he had ordered and his religious feelings were hurt on eating it.
The airline admitted that non-vegetarian food was served to him, but contended in its defence that before he ate it, the sandwich was replaced with vegetarian. Though the forum held the airline deficient in service, it said Mathapati's testimony that he realised the food was non-vegetarian only on eating it "does not inspire confidence" as "it is common knowledge that food articles in packages always bear red and green stickers to distinguish them as vegetarian or non-vegetarian."