SC notice to AI on Mangalore crash

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and Air India on a plea seeking minimum Rs 75 lakh compensation for each of the 158 victims of the May 2010 Mangalore air crash. A bench headed by justice Dalveer Bhandari asked the Centre and the national carrier to file their response and fixed the matter for final hearing in April. The court passed the order on a petition filed by Mohammed Rafiq Salam, who had lost his son in the crash.

Salam`s son was working in Dubai and was coming home a month after his sister`s wedding. Salam approached the apex court challenging the verdict of a division bench of Kerala High Court which had set aside a single judge order directing Air India to pay a minimum compensation of Rs 75 lakh to the families of each of the victims.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the petitioner pleaded the court that the victims` families should be compensated according to the Montreal Convention to which India is a signatory.

According to the Montreal Convention, the petitioners are entitled to have one lakh SDR (Special Drawing Rights) compensation. SDRs are issued by the International Monetary fund and covert to nearly Rs 75 lakh.

One hundred and fifty-eight passengers and crew onboard the Air India aircraft from Dubai were killed when the plane caught fire after one of its wings hit a hillock at Kenjar in Mangalore on May 22, 2010.