Thomas Cook and Red Apple Travel ordered to pay Rs 50 lakh compensation after fatal accident claims lives of family memberstext_fields
New Delhi: Renowned travel agencies Thomas Cook and Red Apple Travel have been mandated by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum to pay Rs 50 lakhs in compensation to Yogesh Saigal, a resident of Delhi, who suffered the loss of his wife, son, and father-in-law in an accident during a visit to Sri Lanka in December 2019.
The accident claimed the lives of Kanupuriya Saigal, a former journalist and news anchor with NDTV, her son Shreya Saigal, and her father, the illustrious Hindi litterateur Ganga Prasad Vimal.
The unfortunate incident occurred when the van they were traveling in collided with a container truck in Columbo. The van's 52-year-old driver also lost his life, and Yogesh Saigal and their daughter Aishwarya Saigal sustained grievous injuries.
After nearly four years, the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has upheld Saigal's plea and ordered the travel agencies to provide compensation.
According to the Forum's order, "There is negligence/deficiency on part of the Opposition Parties (Thomas Cook and Red Apple Travel) on account of the negligence of the driver hired by them and they cannot be allowed to escape its responsibility and corresponding liability by stating that it was merely booking the places etc at the behest of the complainant."
In response to the tragic event, the Saigal family initiated legal proceedings against Thomas Cook and Red Apple Travel, attributing negligence and deficiency in services, unfair trade practices, misleading advertisements, and the cost of legal proceedings as factors contributing to their grievance. Their claim sought damages amounting to Rs 8.99 crore.
Saigal's grievance extended beyond the physical injuries he sustained. Unable to attend the funeral and last rites of his wife and son due to multiple fractures he suffered, he found himself recuperating in a Sri Lankan hospital. The loss of his wife and father-in-law had a profound impact on his mother-in-law, who faced physical and mental challenges. Meanwhile, his daughter battled severe mental trauma. His injuries rendered him incapable of normal walking and made basic social interactions and sleep difficult.
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered the travel agencies to jointly and severally pay the Rs 50 lakh compensation within three months. Failure to comply with this directive would result in an additional penalty of Rs 10 lakh.