Pee Gate: Air India says full refund to 72-year-old woman. What about respect?

Air India commenced a refund of ticket on Dec 2, with receipt of funds acknowledged by the victim’s family on 16 December. But is this enough compensation for the harassment the elderly lady went through?

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By: TNI Team
Updated: 07 January, 2023 3:49 pm IST

TATA Air India in an official statement on Saturday said that the airline has given a full refund of ticket expenses to the aggrieved elderly lady who was at the receiving end of what is now being called pee-gate, onboard its US-Delhi flight.

Highlighting the measures it has taken to support the business class passenger on whose seat co-flyer Shankar Mishra had urinated while being in an intoxicated state on November 26, the statement issued by Campbell Wilson, CEO and Managing Director of Air India said, “Upon receipt of the complaint on 27 November, Air India acknowledged receipt and commenced engaging in correspondence with the affected passenger’s family on 30 November. It commenced a refund of the ticket on 2 December, with receipt of funds acknowledged by the victim’s family on 16 December.”

Air India commenced a refund of ticket on Dec 2, with receipt of funds acknowledged by the victim’s family on 16 December.

Among other things, Air India initiated the DGCA-prescribed “Internal Committee”, tasked with assessing incidents and which comprises a retired judge, a representative from a passengers’ association, and a representative from another Indian commercial airline, on 10 December. The file was passed to the Committee on 20 December and a 30-day interim travel ban imposed on the same date.

It also convened four meetings between senior Airline staff, the victim and her family on 20 December, 21 December, 26 December and 30 December 2022 to discuss actions being taken and the progress thereof. “When the victim’s family requested that Air India lodge a police report during the meeting on 26 December, it did so on 28 December 2022,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Mishra has been finally arrested by the Delhi Police. Following days of manhunt, the police nabbed the disgraced corporation executive from Bengaluru last night and brought him to the national capital. Mishra will be produced before a court in Delhi on Saturday.

Mishra was booked under sections 354 (molestation), 354 (A), 509 (insulting a woman’s modesty), 510 (misconduct in public by a drunken person), 294 (using obscene words) of the IPC and section 23 of the Aircraft Act for peeing on the woman in the business class of Air India flight on November 26 last year.

Police had issued a lookout circular (LOC) against the accused so that he could not fly out of the country.

He was an employee of American financial services company Wells Fargo. The company sacked Mishra, calling the allegations against him “deeply disturbing”.

In her complaint, the woman said that crew members refused to allocate another seat after the incident and instead asked her to sit on the soiled seat, which was “reeking of urine”.

Narrating her ordeal, the complainant said, “Shortly after lunch was served and the lights were switched off, a male business class passenger seated in 8A walked to my seat, completely inebriated. He unzipped his pants, urinated on me, and kept standing there until the person sitting next to me tapped him and told him to go back to his seat, at which point he staggered back to his seat.”

As per the DGCA, prima facie, it emerged that provisions related to handling the Mumbai resident were not complied with.

The airline has announced a 30-day travel ban on the man and constituted an internal investigation to find whether there were lapses in handling the situation by the crew.

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