NEW DELHI (TIP): The Supreme Court ordered low-cost SpiceJet airline on Thursday to pay a Rs10-lakh compensation to rights activist Jeeja Ghosh, a cerebral palsy patient, for offloading her from a flight. A bench headed by justice AK Sikri found the airline guilty of not fulfilling its social responsibility and regretted that society continued to discriminate people with disabilities. The court fixed a two-month period for the company to pay the compensation.
In 2012, SpiceJet’s cabin crew asked Ghosh to de-board after the pilot purportedly said he was not comfortable with the disabled rights activist around. The 40-year-old had boarded the plane in Kolkata and was to visit Goa for a conference. SpiceJet refunded the ticket money after deducting the flight cancellation charges. “It is the common experience of several persons with disabilities that they are unable to lead a full life due to societal barriers and discrimination faced by them in employment, access to public spaces, transportation etc.,” the bench said.
The SpiceJet crew’s action violated Ghosh’s fundamental right to live with dignity, the court said.