HC berates airline in full text of verdict
The High Court in full text of a verdict released on Wednesday blasted Etihad Airways for harassing two Bangladesh-born women at Abu Dhabi International Airport in June 2011.
Issuing 12 directives, the court asked Etihad to behave with women passengers more carefully and with honour, and observed that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has to be more sincere to ensure more security of passengers and their luggage, and owners of goods during travels.
In the verdict, the HC had ordered Etihad to give Tk 1 crore to each victim, considering its condition amid the worldwide pandemic.
It is clear from the foreign ministry probe report that officials and staff members concerned of Etihad had behaved in an "unjust", "rude", "negligent", "unprofessional" and "uncourteous" manner with the writ petitioner, Tanzeen Bristy, and her mother at Abu Dhabi International Airport, and forced them to go back to Dhaka at their own cost, the verdict said.
The act was "unreasonable", "mala fide" and "arbitrary", which is contradictory to the principle of fair and natural justice, and also illegal and beyond the airline's jurisdiction, the HC bench of Justice Md Ashraful Kamal and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil observed in the 192-page verdict.
The HC bench had announced the verdict on October 8 last year, following a writ petition filed by Tanzeen in July 2011 -- seeking its order for compensation and legal action against Etihad.
On June 28, 2011, Tanzeen and her mother Nahid Sultana Juthi, a Supreme Court lawyer, while they were going to Canada by an Etihad Airways flight, were reportedly harassed by the airline staff at Abu Dhabi International Airport, and were forced back to Dhaka at their own cost over a brawl that sparked due to a staffer's fault.
The HC on July 14, 2011 issued a rule, asking Etihad authorities to explain why they should not be directed to pay compensation to the victims, and why appropriate action should not be taken against them.
In the full text of the verdict, the HC bench ordered Etihad to pay compensation through its Bangladesh country manager in 20 equal monthly instalments from the month after receiving the verdict's copy.
The HC judges asked all Bangladeshi embassies to organise meetings and seminars based on this case to make expatriate workers and foreign currency earners aware about civil aviation organisations' accountability to airways passengers during their travels.
ICAO's main purpose and function will be to ensure that general passengers do not face any hindrance in realising their rights and compensations, said the HC.
In the full verdict, the HC has also given special thanks to The Daily Star and its reporter concerned for running a report on July 2, 2011 on the incident.
The court said the newspaper report had opened eyes regarding the case.
Contacted, writ petitioner's counsel Manzill Murshid said the HC issued some directives about ICAO, as Bangladesh Civil Aviation is one of its members. However, no court of Bangladesh can issue any directive on international organisations like ICAO.