The airline firm is legally obligated to adhere to the delivery date that its agent, who made the reservation, guaranteed. This ruling was made by the Supreme Court.
An agent of Kuwait Airways had promised that the products would be delivered within a week, but the shipment was delivered after 1.5 months, according to a bench of Justices A.S. Bopanna and P.S. Narasimha. The bench further stated that “there was negligent delay in the delivery of consignment.”
The consignment that was scheduled for delivery on July 24, 1996, was actually delivered after one and a half months, specifically from September 3, 1996, to September 12, 1996, according to the bench.
The Rajasthan Art Emporium, which distributes handicrafts to multiple countries, filed a complaint in 1997 when a cargo was supposed to arrive in the US within seven days but never did.
The consignee notified the complainant in writing that Kuwait Airways was unable to locate the remaining cartons and that the items were not received in full.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) ordered the airline to pay the complainant $50,070 (up to Rs 20 lakh) plus 9% annual compensation from July 1996 until its realization in a ruling passed in October 2012.
The Commission observed that the payment of air freight, which is ten times more expensive than sea freight, was made solely to guarantee that the shipment reaches its destination in a week, as sea freight would have required a delivery period of 25 to 30 days.
The airline argued before the supreme court that time was not of the essence of the agreement made between the parties because the Rajasthan Art Emporium had not provided any explicit instructions on the deadline by which the shipments had to arrive at their destination.
“Once the agent has issued a time schedule for delivery of consignment, it cannot be said that there is no material indicating that there was no agreement for delivery of the consignment in time,” held the Supreme Court.
“We approve and sustain the order passed by the NCDRC,” it added.