The Madras High Court Bench said travel agents cannot file writ petitions against airline companies, especially if they happen to be foreign airlines, seeking a direction to issue air tickets without demanding additional charges.
Justice M. Venugopal passed the order while dismissing a writ petition filed by Ameer Travels of Tiruchi seeking a direction to Srilankan Airlines to confirm tickets for 249 Haj pilgrims from Tiruchi to Saudi Arabia between August 16 and September 5, The Hindu newspaper reported.
The judge agreed with the airlines that the writ petition was not maintainable since a writ could be issued only against a State within the ambit of Article 12 of the Constitution and the airlines, incorporated under the laws of Sri Lanka, would not fall under the definition of State.
The counsel for the airlines pointed out that 99.11 per cent of its shares were held by the Government of Sri Lanka and it was not a statutory body in India or an instrumentality of the government or an agency of the State to be compelled to perform a statutory duty.
After recording the submission, the judge said that the petitioner could not also force the airlines to issue tickets without demanding additional charges since there was neither a confirmation nor a commitment on the part of the airlines to issue tickets without any revision. “It is to be aptly pointed out by this court that writ of mandamus will not be issued to enforce a private contract and the remedy of a person is to file a suit for damages or specific performance and not a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution,” the judge said. (Colombo Gazette)