The Carriage by Air Act, 1972
Liability of The Carrier and Extent of Compensation for Damages
17. (1) The carrier shall be liable for damages sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking.
(2) The carrier shall be liable for damages sustained in case of destruction or loss of, or of damage to checked baggage upon condition only that the event which caused the destruction, loss or damage took place on board the aircraft or during any period within which the checked baggage was in the charge of the carrier. However, the carrier shall not be liable if and to the extent that the damage resulted from the inherent defect, quality or vice of the baggage. In the case of unchecked baggage, including personal items, the carrier is liable if the damage has resulted from its fault or that of its servants or agents.
(3) If the carrier admits the loss of the checked baggage, or if the checked baggage has not arrived at the expiration of twenty-one days after the date on which it ought to have arrived, the passenger shall be entitled to enforce against the carrier the rights which flow from the contract of carriage.
18. (1) The carrier shall be liable for damages sustained in the event of the destruction or loss of, or damage to, cargo upon condition only that the event which caused the damage so sustained took place during the carriage by air.
(2) However, the carrier shall not be liable if and to the extent it proves that the destruction, or loss of, or damage to, the cargo resulted from one or more of the following:-
(a) inherent defect, quality or vice of that cargo;
(b) defective packing of that cargo performed by a person other than the carrier or its servants or agents;
(c) an act of war or an armed conflict; and
(d) an act of public authority carried out in connection with the entry, exit or transit of the cargo.
(3) The carriage by air within the meaning of sub-rule (1) comprises the period during which the cargo is in charge of the carrier.
(4) The period of the carriage by air shall not extend to any carriage by land, by sea or by inland waterway performed outside an airport. If, however, such carriage takes place in the performance of a contract for carriage by air, for the purpose of loading, delivery or transhipment, any damage is presumed, subject to proof to the contrary, to have been the result of an event which took place during the carriage by air. If a carrier, without the consent of the consignor, substitutes carriage by another mode of transport for the whole or part of a carriage intended by the agreement between the parties to be carriage by air, such carriage by another mode of transport is deemed to be within the period of carriage by air.
19. The carrier shall be liable for damage occasioned by delay in the carriage by air of passengers, baggage or cargo. Nevertheless, the carrier shall not be liable for damage occasioned by delay if it proves that it and its servants and agents took all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the damage or that it was impossible for it or them to take such measures.
20. If the carrier proves that the damages was caused or contributed to by the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of the person claiming compensation, or the person from whom he or she derives his or her rights, the carrier shall be wholly or partly exonerated from its liability to the claimant to the extent that such negligence or wrongful act or omission caused or contributed to the damage. When by reason of death or injury of a passenger compensation is claimed by a person other than the passenger, the carrier shall likewise be wholly or partly exonerated from its liability to the extent that it proves that the damage was caused or contributed to by the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of that passenger. This rule applies to all the liability provisions of these rules, including sub-rule (1) of rule 21.
21. (1) For damages arising under sub-rule (1) of rule 17 not exceeding one lakh Special Drawing Rights for each passenger, the carrier shall not be able to exclude or limit its liability.
(2) The carrier shall not be liable for damages arising under sub-rule (1) of rule 17 to the extent that they exceed for each passenger one lakh Special Drawing Rights if the carrier proves that-
(a) such damage was not due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of the carrier or its servants or agents; or
(b) such damage was solely due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of a third party.
22. (1) In the case of damage caused by delay as specified in rule 19 in the carriage of persons, the liability of the carrier for each passenger is limited to four thousand one hundred and fifty Special Drawing Rights.
(2) In the carriage of baggage, the liability of the carrier in the case of destruction, loss, damage or delay shall be limited to one thousand Special Drawing Rights for each passenger unless the passenger has made, at the time when the checked baggage was handed over to the carrier, a special declaration of interest in delivery at destination and has paid a supplementary sum, if so required. In that case, the carrier shall be liable to pay a sum not exceeding the declared sum, unless it proves that the sum is greater than the passenger's actual interest in delivery at destination.
(3) In the carriage of cargo, the liability of the carrier in the case of destruction, loss, damage or delay is limited to a sum of seventeen Special Drawing Rights per kilogramme, unless the consignor has made, at the time when the package was handed over to the carrier, a special declaration of interest in delivery at destination and has paid a supplementary sum, if so required. In that case, the carrier shall be liable to pay a sum not exceeding the declared sum, unless it proves that the sum is greater than the consignor's actual interest in delivery at destination.
(4) In the case of delay, destruction, loss or damage of part of the cargo, or of any object contained therein, the weight to be taken into consideration in determining the amount to which the carrier's liability is limited shall be only the total weight of the package or packages concerned. Nevertheless, when the delay, destruction, loss or damage of a part of the cargo, or of an object contained therein, affects the value of other packages covered by the same air waybill, or the same receipt or, if they were not issued, by the same record preserved by other means referred to in sub-rule (2) of rule 4, the total weight of such package or packages shall also be taken into consideration in determining the limit of liability.
(5) The provisions of sub-rules (1) and (2) shall not apply if it is proved that the damage resulted from an act or omission of the carrier, its servants or agents, done with intent to cause damage or recklessly and with knowledge that damage would probably result:
Provided that, in the case of such act or omission of a servant or agent, it is also proved that such servant or agent was acting within the scope of its employment.
(6) The limits prescribed in rule 21 and in this rule shall not prevent the court from awarding, in accordance with its own law, in addition, the whole or part of the court costs and of the other expenses of the litigation incurred by the plaintiff, including interest. The foregoing provision shall not apply if the amount of the damages awarded, excluding court costs and other expenses of the litigation, does not exceed the sum which the carrier has offered in writing to the plaintiff within a period of six months from the date of the occurrence causing the damage, or before the commencement of the action, if that is later.
23. The sums mentioned in terms of Special Drawing Right in these rules shall be deemed to refer to the Special Drawing Right as defined by the International Monetary Fund and its conversion into national currencies shall, in case of judicial proceedings, be made in accordance with the method of valuation applied by the International Monetary Fund, in effect at the date of the judgment, for its operations and transactions.
24. (1) Without prejudice to the provisions of rule 25 and subject to sub-rule (2), the limits of liability prescribed in rules 21, 22 and 23 shall be reviewed by the depository at five-year intervals, the first such review to take place at the end of the fifth year following the date of coming into force of these rules. The measure of the rate of inflation to be used in determining the inflation factor shall be the weighted average of the annual rates of increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Indices of the States whose currencies comprise the Special Drawing Right mentioned in rule 23.
(2) If the review referred to in sub-rule (1) concludes that the inflation factor has exceeded ten per cent., the depositary shall notify State Parties of a revision of the limits of liability. Any such revision shall become effective six months after its notification to the State Parties. If within three months after its notification to the State Parties, a majority of the State Parties register their disapproval, the revision shall not become effective and the depositary shall refer the matter to a meeting of the State Parties. The depositary shall immediately notify all States Parties about the coming into force of any revision.
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-rule (1), the procedure referred to in sub-rule (2) shall be applied at any time provided that one-third of the State Parties express a desire to that effect and upon condition that the inflation factor referred to in sub-rule (1) has exceeded thirty per cent.since the previous revision or since the date of entry into force of the Montreal Convention if there has been no previous revision. Subsequent reviews using the procedure specified in sub-rule (1) shall take place at five-year intervals starting at the end of the fifth year following the date of the reviews under the provisions of this sub-rule.
25. A carrier may stipulate that the contract of carriage shall be subject to higher limits of liability than those provided for in these rules or to no limits of liability whatsover.
26. Any provision tending to relieve the carrier of liability or to fix a lower limit than that which is laid down in these rules shall be null and void, but the nullity of any such provision does not involve the nullity of the whole contract, which shall remain subject to the provisions of these rules.
27. Nothing contained in these rules shall prevent the carrier from refusing to enter into any contract of carriage, from waiving any defence available in these rules, or from laying down conditions, which are not contrary to the provisions of these rules.
28. Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, where the aircraft accident results in death or injury of passengers, the carrier shall make advance payments without delay to a natural person or persons who are entitled to claim compensation in order to meet the immediate economic needs of such persons. Such advance payments shall not constitute a recognition of liability and may be offset against any amounts subsequently paid as damages by the carrier.
29. In the carriage of passengers, baggage and cargo, any action for damages, however founded, whether under these rules or in contract or in tort or otherwise, can only be brought subject to the conditions and such limits of liability as are set out in these rules without prejudice to the question as to who are the persons who have the right to bring suit and what are their respective rights. In any such action, punitive, exemplary or any other non-compensatory damages shall not be recoverable.
30. (1) If an action is brought against a servant or agent of the carrier arising out of damage to which these rules relate, such servant or agent, if they prove that they acted within the scope of their employment, shall be entitled to avail themselves of the conditions and limits of liability which the carrier itself is entitled to invoke under these rules.
(2) The aggregate of the amounts recoverable from the carrier, its servants and agents, in that case, shall not exceed the said limits.
(3) Except in respect of the carriage of cargo, the provisions of sub-rules (1) and (2) shall not apply if it is proved that the damage resulted from an act or omission of the servant or agent done with intent to cause damage or recklessly and with the knowledge that damage would probably result.
31. (1) Receipt by the person entitled to delivery of checked baggage or cargo without complaint is prima facie evidence that the same has been delivered in good condition and in accordance with the document of carriage or with the record preserved by the other means referred to in sub-rule (2) of rule 3 and sub-rule (2) of rule 4.
(2) In the case of damage, the person entitled to delivery shall make a complaint to the carrier forthwith after the discovery of the damage, and, at the latest, within seven days from the date of receipt in the case of checked baggage and fourteen days from the date of receipt in the case of cargo. In the case of delay, the complaint shall be made at the latest within twenty-one days from the date on which the baggage or cargo have been placed at his disposal.
(3) Every complaint shall be made in writing and given or dispatched within the period specified in sub-rule (2).
(4) If no complaint is made within the period specified in sub-rule (2), no action shall lie against the carrier, except in the case of fraud committed by the carrier.
32. In the case of the death of the person liable, an action for damages lies in accordance with these rules against those legally representing his or her estate.
33. (1) An action for damages shall be brought, at the option of the claimant of damages, in the territory of one of the State Parties, either before the court of the domicile of the carrier or of its principal place of business, or where it has a place of business through which the contract has been made or before the court at the place of destination.
(2) In respect of damage resulting from the death or injury of a passenger, an action may be brought before one of the courts mentioned in sub-rule (1), or in the territory of a State Party in which at the time of the accident the passenger has his or her principal and permanent residence and to or from which the carrier operates services for the carriage of passengers by air, either on its own aircraft, or on another carrier's aircraft pursuant to a commercial agreement, and in which that carrier conducts its business of carriage of passengers by air from premises leased or owned by the carrier itself or by another carrier with which it has a commercial agreement.
(3) For the purposes of sub-rule (2)-
(a) "commercial agreement" means an agreement, other than an agency agreement, made between carriers and relating to the provision of their joint services for carriage of passengers by air;
(b) "principal and permanent residence" means the one fixed and permanent abode of the passenger at the time of the accident. The nationality of the passenger shall not be the determining factor in this regard.
(4) Questions of procedure shall be governed by the law of the court seized of the case.
34.(1) Subject to the provisions of this rule, the parties to the contract of carriage for cargo may stipulate that any dispute relating to the liability of the carrier under these rules shall be settled by arbitration. Such agreement shall be in writing.
(2) The arbitration proceedings shall, at the option of the claimant, take place within one of the jurisdictions referred to in rule 33.
(3) The arbitrator or arbitration tribunal shall apply the provisions of these rules.
(4) The provisions of sub-rules (2) and (3) shall be deemed to be part of every arbitration clause or agreement, and any term of such clause or agreement which is inconsistent therewith shall be null and void.
35. (1) The right to damages shall be extinguished if an action is not brought within a period of two years, reckoned from the date of arrival at the destination, or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived, or from the date on which the carriage stopped.
(2) The method of calculating the period shall be determined by the law of the court seized of the case.
36. (1) In the case of carriage to be performed by various successive carriers and falling within the definition set out in sub-rule (4) of rule 1, each carrier which accepts passengers, baggage or cargo shall be subject to the provisions of these rules and shall be deemed to be one of the parties to the contract of carriage in so far as the contract deals with that part of the carriage which is performed under its supervision.
(2) In the case of carriage of this nature, the passenger or any person entitled to compensation shall be entitled to take action only against the carrier which performed the carriage during which the accident or the delay occurred, except where, by express agreement, the first carrier has assumed liability for the whole journey.
(3) In respect of baggage or cargo, the passenger or consignor shall have a right of action against the first carrier, and the passenger or consignee who is entitled to delivery shall have a right of action against the last carrier, and further, each may take action against the carrier which performed the carriage during which the delay, destruction, loss or damage took place. These carriers shall be jointly and severally liable to the passenger or to the consignor or consignee.
37. Nothing in these rules shall prejudicially affect the right of a person liable for damages to take recourse against any other person.