New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation was on Friday asked by the Supreme Court to respond to a plea challenging the Centre notification, which fixes Rs 7.5 lakhs as compensation in case of a domestic air passenger's death against Rs 75 lakhs for international fliers.

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra issued notice to the ministry on a plea challenging a 1973 notification of the Union government, which fixes air liners' liability in respect of passengers, baggage and cargo in different eventualities.

The petition was filed by Bihar native Rajesh Kumar whose son had died in an air ambulance crash last May at Faridabad in Haryana, along with all others including the flight crew members.
The petition, filed through advocate Arun Kumar Sinha, submitted that Parliament has passed the By Air (Amendment) Act, 2009 to extend the benefits available to international passengers to the domestic ones also but the same has not been notified as yet despite the President of India giving her assent to it on March 20, 2009.

Earlier on January 3, a bench headed by justice Dalveer Bhandari had issued notices to the Centre and Air India on another plea by the father of a May 2010 Manglore air crash victim, seeking minimum Rs 75 lakh compensation for each of the 158 victims.

Kumar in his petition said the notification for the amended act has not been published which indicates that Centre "for some extraneous consideration is not inclined to extend the benefits" of the amended Act to the real beneficiary.

"The Central Government is acting under influence of the private carriers and is not issuing notification," it alleged.