Fequently Asked Questions

 

Are pet animals permitted on board the aircraft ?

Pet animals can be carried as an accompanied baggage or shipped as Cargo. Passengers will have to make this request at the time of making their booking. The staff will advise them about certain formalities that the passenger will have to complete. Pets will be carried at an additional charge and will not be included in the Free Baggage Allowance, even if the passenger has no other baggage. Normal Excess Baggage Charges would be applicable for carriage of accompanied pets on domestic journeys within India. It is always advisable to read the policy on carrying pets of the respective airlines which the passenger intend to travel.

What are the formalities that require to be completed for a stretcher requirement on board an aircraft?

A passenger who is desirous of availing the stretcher facility within the aircraft is required to prepare and submit a Medical Information form (MEDIF).  Such passengers / their attendants are advised to check with the concerned airlines they intend to travel with.

Till what stage can a pregnant woman travel without an escort?

In good health, an expectant mother  may be accepted for transportation up to and including the 32nd week of pregnancy. At the time of making the bookings, if the pregnancy is advanced beyond 32 weeks and with the anticipation of normal delivery, the expectant mother be accepted for travel up to and including the 35th week of pregnancy, i.e., up to, at least 5 weeks prior to the expected date of confinement. A medical certificate from the attending obstetrician must be obtained stating that she is fit to travel.  Without a valid medical certificate passengers in advanced stage of pregnancy may not be permitted to board the aircraft.

What if a passenger has special medications which she/he must carry with them during air travel?

A passenger in need of special medication should always carry his/her prescription with them they board any flight. Different countries have different laws governing the possession of prescription drugs, and some countries have limited supplies should they require a refill of their prescription, it is always better to carry an extra supply with them.

Can a passenger carry his/her own electrically operated wheelchair on board the aircraft?

Yes. A passenger carry his/her own electrically operated wheelchair on board the aircraft. However, a medical certificate stating the need to carry and operate their own wheelchair has to be produced. Else, the airline may deny permission to carry the same.

If a passenger needs a wheelchair, what should he or she do? Is there a charge?

If a passenger with restricted mobility needs a wheelchair at the airport , the request should be placed at the time of reservation, ticketing or reconfirmation of the booking. Passengers are requested to pre-book wheelchairs at the time of flight booking / ticket issuance to avoid last minute delays / non availability of wheelchairs. The passengers are also advised to be in possession of a medical certificate explaining the cause of immobility warranting a wheelchair.

Do the same laws apply to military, commercial and private aviation accidents?

No. Different laws than those applied to general aviation govern commercial airlines and military aircraft.

Who can be held responsible for an air crash?

Depending on who is determined to be at fault for the accident, various parties may be held responsible. They include the owner/operator of the plane, the manufacturer of the plane, maintenance suppliers, and airport personnel.   The responsibility can only be fixed after a thorough inquiry in to the incident.

What are the medical facilities an airliner is expected to provide on board during travel to its passengers?

The flight and cabin crew are trained on first aid and emergency handling procedures.  First aid for minor injuries and emergency medication are always available with the cabin crew.  In the event of an emergency the crew would assess the situation and inform the captain who would take the decision whether to continue to the destination or land at the nearest airport on medical emergency.

Can a differently-abled passenger denied boarding in the aircraft citing his/her disability by the airline staff? If so denied what are the remedies available for him/her?

No. Differently abled passengers are to be treated with utmost respect and compassion.  Any discrimination or ill treatment towards them should be reported immediately to the concerned authorities.  The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has awarded an amount of Ten Lakh as compensation to a differently abled passenger who was not permitted to travel by the airline only because she was wheel chair bound.

Can a passenger approach the Court of law if he is not satisfied with the offer of the airliner to compensate the loss incurred by him due to negligence on the part of airline staff?

Yes.  A passenger can always take legal remedy if he is not satisfied with the compensation offered by the airline.

What are the circumstances under which a passenger will not be eligible for a refund of his cancelled flight?

Passengers may not claim compensation if flights are cancelled due to following reasons

  • Natural disaster
  • Civil war
  • Political instability
  • Security risks
  • Insurrection or riot, explosion etc.
  • Government regulation or order affecting the aircraft
  • Strikes and labor disputes causing cessation
  • Meteorological conditions
  • Cancellations and delays clearly attributable to Air Traffic Control (ATC)
  • Slowdown or interruption of work or any other causes that are beyond the control of the airline but which affect their ability to operate flights on schedule.

Can an airline deny boarding to a passenger with a confirmed ticket? If so denied what are the compensations that are to be offered to the passenger?

Yes.  When the number of passengers, who have been given confirmed bookings for travel on the flight and who have reported for the flight well within the specified time ahead of the departure of the flight, are more than the number of seats available, an airline must first ask for volunteers to give up their seats so as to make seats available for other booked passengers to travel on the flight, in exchange of such benefits/facilities as the airline, at its own discretion, may wish to offer, provided airports concerned have dedicated check-in facilities/gate areas which make it practical for the airline to do so.

However, if the boarding is denied to passengers against their will due to lack of volunteers, the airline shall as soon as practicable compensate them as per the following terms :

a) Rs. 2,000/- or the value of the ticket whichever is less for flights having a block time of up to and including one hour

b) Rs. 3.000/- or the value of the ticket whichever is less for flights having block time of more than one hour and up to and including two hours.

c) Rs. 4,000/- or the value of the ticket whichever is less for flights having a block time of more than two hours.

The financial compensation indicated above  shall be given only if the amount of tickets costs is higher than the compensation amount

What is the time limit beyond which airlines are required to provide refreshments to the passengers on delay of an aircraft?

Passengers shall be offered free of charge Meals and refreshments in relation to waiting time in the event of delay of flight over 2 hours.

If a cargo plane crashes and all the cargo loaded in the aircraft is destroyed, who will be responsible for assessment and payment of compensation to the customers whose cargo was lost?

The airline will compensate the loss as the aircraft and cargo both would have been insured.  If additional insurance is paid by the customer he may claim that also.  But the total claim cannot exceed the original value of the cargo lost.

Can the passengers lodge a complaint against the airline if a flight is delayed intentionally to accommodate a privileged passenger i.e. VVIP / Politician etc?

Yes.  A complaint can be lodged with DGCA.

Can a passenger carry his licensed fire arm in the aircraft during domestic travel?

As per Government of India regulations, a bonafide passenger can carry one licensed revolver or pistol or shotgun and fifty cartridges in registered baggage after declaring them at check-in and meeting all safety and security requirements. A prescribed form is to be filled in by the passenger and verified by the Airport Manager.

A handling charge will be levied per passenger :

However, the following categories of passengers will be exempt from payment of handling charge:

  • Serving personnel from Defense forces, Para military forces and Police travelling on duty and carrying an official movement order issued by their concerned department authorizing the carriage of weapon and / or ammunition for official purpose.
  • Sportsman traveling either domestic or International for a competition or representing the country, provided they fulfill the following conditions :
  • Identification document for the sportsman. Evidence of identity can be established by a photo identity card issued by a government agency or the sponsoring club.
  • Valid license/authorization of fire arms and ammunition.
  • Bonafide for carriage of arms and ammunition on the basis of a written document issued by the President or Secretary of the sports club sponsoring him/her for the shooting event.

Different airlines have different policies with regard to carrying of fire arms on board.  Hence, it is always advisable to check with the concerned airline to avoid last moment inconvenience.

If a passengers misses his connecting flight due to delay of his originating flight, what are the remedies available to him to complete his journey?

If the original flight and the connecting flight are made through a single booking ticket, then the airlines would provide alternate arrangement in the next available flight.  But if the bookings are different and the delay time is less than 3 hours the airlines is not liable to provide any compensation to the passenger.

Who will be held responsible for the loss of life or limb arising out of an air crash? Who will be responsible for releasing the compensation amount to the aggrieved family?

The responsibility and cause of crash of an aircraft can only be derived after the submission of final report by the inquiry committee.  However, the compensation for the loss of life or limb of the passengers would be released by the concerned airline.   If the passenger had opted for additional third party insurance, the additional compensation amount would be provided over and above the compensation paid by the airlines.

What are the remedies available to an individual whose property has been damaged owing to an air crash? Is he entitled for compensation from the airliner?

Similar to motor cycles and Cars air craft too are insured and any loss or damage arising out of air crash would be compensated by the insurance company with whom the airliner had insured its planes.

What are the remedies available to a passenger if he is forcefully evicted by the airline staff from the aircraft for no fault of his?

The passenger needs to lodge a complaint with the service desk and the airport of the concerned airlines.  The airlines would verify the facts and if it is learnt that the passenger was not at fault, the guilty airline staff may be penalized under intimation to the passenger and the passenger may also be compensated suitably at the discretion of the airline.

If a person loses one of his family members due to air crash, can he claim compensation from the airliner?

The Montreal Convention (formally, the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air) provides that loss of life due to air crash needs to be compensated by the airlines which has been fixed at 1,00,000 SDR (Special Drawing Rights).

If a passenger feels that the services provided by the airliner are not at par with the standards claimed by them in their advertisements, can the passenger claim compensation from the airliner?

Yes.  If a passenger is not satisfied with the services offered by the airliner and considers the same to be inferior than the claims made by the airliner in its advertisements, the passenger can claim compensation from the airliner.    The aggrieved passenger can lodge a written complaint with the service desk of the airline and his/her complaint will be processed by the airline.  If the airline denies the compensation claim then the passenger can take the matter to the consumer forum for remedy.

What are the facilities to be provided to the passengers by the airlines in the event of delay or cancelled flight?

Passengers shall be offered free of charge the following in the event of delay of flight over 2 hours or cancellation of a flight:

a) Meals and refreshments in relation to waiting time.

b) Hotel Accommodation when necessary (including transfers).

Can a passenger claim compensation if his/ her checked baggage is lost and could not be recovered after a reasonable amount of time?

Yes, if a baggage considered lost could not be traced by an airline with 21 days from the date of the complaint, then the passenger would be entitled for compensation as per the compensation policy of the airlines which will be available in the airline website.

Can a passenger claim compensation from the airlines if his / her flight is cancelled without prior intimation?

Airline shall inform the passenger of the cancellation at least two weeks before the scheduled time of departure and arrange alternate flight/refund as acceptable to the passenger. In case the passengers are informed of the cancellation less than two weeks before and up to 24 hours of the scheduled time of departure, the airline shall offer alternate flight allowing them to depart within two hours of their booked scheduled time of departure. Passengers who have not been informed before 2 weeks, the airlines shall provide compensation in addition to the refund of air ticket in accordance with the following provisions:

a) INR 5,000 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less for flights having a block time of upto and including 01 hour

b) INR 7,500 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less for flights having block time of more than 01 hour and upto and including 02 hours.

c) INR 10,000 or booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, whichever is less for flights having a block time of more than 02 hours.

Can a passenger claim compensation from the airlines if his/her flight is inordinately delayed beyond the schedule of arrival at the destination?

Yes.  If the flight is delayed due to technical or some other issue which is within the control of the airlines then the passenger can claim compensation from the airline.  However, if the delay is due to force majeure  i.e cause of delay is  beyond the control of the airline such as bad weather, not cleared for take off by the airport authorities etc., then the passenger will only be eligible for a full refund and not any additional compensation.

Can a passenger claim compensation from the airlines if he / she is not permitted to board the aircraft despite reporting on time to the airport?

Yes.  A passenger if denied boarding despite being on time due to over booking by the airline can claim compensation from the airline. If the boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the airline shall not be liable for any compensation in case alternate flight is arranged that is scheduled to depart within one hour of the original schedule departure time of the initial reservation. Failing to do so, the airline shall compensate the passengers as per the following provisions:

a) An amount equal to 200% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of INR 10,000, in case airline arranges alternate flight that is scheduled to depart within the 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure.

b) An amount equal to 400% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of INR 20,000, in case airline arranges alternate flight that is scheduled to depart more than 24 hours of the booked scheduled departure.

c) In case passenger does not opt for alternate flight, refund of full value of ticket and compensation equal to 400% of booked one-way basic fare plus airline fuel charge, subject to maximum of INR 20,000.

What should be done by passenger if he finds any item missing in his cabin / hand / carryon baggage after passing through the security check?

The passenger needs to immediately lodge a complaint with the onboard staff who will in turn alter the security staff for locating the baggage.

Whom should a passenger or a visitor report the loss of any item at an airport?

The passenger needs to lodge a complaint with the service desk of his respective airline regarding the loss.  Some airports have dedicated ‘Lost Luggage Counters’ where unattended or luggage missed by other passengers are deposited.   Any passenger who has lost his luggage may firsts approach these Lost Luggage Counters to check whether any fellow passenger or airport staff have deposited their luggage with them.  However, the luggage would only be released on submission of proof of ownership.

What are the circumstances under which a passenger can be denied boarding by an airline?

The aircrew of the airlines may deny boarding to a passenger on the following circumstances :

a) If the  passenger is in a state of intoxication which may disturb other passengers in the flight, the check-in staff can deny a boarding to a passenger and report the matter.

b) If a passenger misbehaves with other passengers or with the crew and if the commander of the flight decides that allowing the passenger to fly can endanger the safety of other passengers or crew, he can offload (send back from the plane) the passenger.

c) Passenger who are too sick with communicable disease but trying to travel if detected may not be permitted to board the aircraft.

d) Passengers who have physical injuries /open wounds which are bleeding would not be allowed to board the aircraft.

What are the rights of a disabled passenger while travelling in an airline?

  • A disable passenger can place a request for wheel chair assistance from the point of entry till the aircraft. Some airlines provide wheel chair assistance till the aisle depending upon the type of the aircraft they are flying.  The passenger needs to be in possession of a medical certificate issued by a competent doctor declaring her need for wheel chair. 

 

  • Stretcher cases or bed ridden patients can also perform air travel subject to the airline policy. Nowadays many airlines permit stretcher patients (Adult, Child or Infant) in their domestic and international flights subject to prior medical clearance and filling up of certain forms.

During a stop-over if an aircraft develops a snag and has to layoff for the night at a location other than the intended destination of the passengers, who will bear their boarding and lodging expenses?

In the event of a technical snag, if the aircraft has to layoff for the night at a location other than the intended destination, the airlines will provide suitable boarding and lodging to the passengers including the transit to and fro to the airport.

What are the remedies available to a passenger if his / her checked baggage is stolen?

The passenger needs to lodge a complaint with the service desk and the airport staff will try to electronically locate the luggage if it has been erroneously loaded in a different aircraft and – if they can find it – arrange for it to be couriered to you.  If the baggage is untraceable then the passenger would be compensated by the airliner.  Please refer the airline website for their compensation policy.

What should an airline passenger do when a fellow passenger misbehaves with him / her?

The passenger can immediately bring the incident to the attention of the airline staff and can request for an alternate seat.  If the incident is of serious nature and might warrant legal intervention, the pilot may be intimated who will in turn report the matter to the airport authorities at the destination for further action.

What are the remedies available for a passenger whose baggage is misplaced by the airline after checked-in by the passenger?

The passenger needs to lodge a complaint with the service desk and the airport staff will electronically locate your luggage and – if they can find it – arrange for it to be couriered to you.  If the baggage is untraceable then the passenger would be compensated by the airliner.  Please refer the airline website for their compensation policy.

What can a passenger do if an airline staff misbehaves with him/her?

The passenger needs to lodge a complaint with the service desk at the airport of the concerned airlines.  The airlines would conduct an inquiry into the incident and the staff if found guilty would be penalized accordingly under intimation to the passenger.

To whom should a passenger lodge a complaint against an airline for inferior service?

1st Tier – First hand complaints are required to be made with the CRCs/ Nodal officers of the respective Airlines.

2nd Tier- If no result is achieved, complainants can forward their case to the Nodal Officer, DGCA for redressal.

3rd Tier- Complainants can move to Consumer Forum for redressal.

Boarding denied to airline passenger

What are the circumstances under which a passenger can be denied boarding by an airline?

The aircrew of the airlines may deny boarding to a passenger on the following circumstances :

  1. If the e passenger is in a state of intoxication which may disturb other passengers in the flight, the check in staff can deny a boarding pass to a passenger and report the matter.
  2. If a passenger misbehaves with other passengers or with the crew and if the commander of the flight decides that allowing the passenger to fly can endanger the safety of other passengers or crew, he can offload (send back from the plane) the passenger.
  3. Passenger who are too sick with communicable disease but trying to travel if detected may not be permitted to board the air craft.
  4. Passengers who have physical injuries /open wounds which are bleeding would not be allowed to board the air craft.

Airline Passenger luggage stolen

What are the remedies available to a passenger if his / her checked baggage is stolen?

The passenger needs to lodge a complaint with the service desk and the airport staff will try to electronically locate the luggage if it has been erroneously loaded in a different aircraft and – if they can find it – arrange for it to be delivered to the passenger.  If the baggage is untraceable then the passenger would be compensated by the airliner.  Please refer the airline website for their compensation policy.

Inferior Service by Airlines

To whom should a passenger lodge a complaint against an airline for inferior service?

  • 1st Tier – First hand complaints are required to be made with the CRCs/ Nodal officers of the respective Airlines.
  • 2nd Tier- If no result is achieved, complainants can forward their case to the Nodal Officer, DGCA for redressal.
  •  3rd Tier- Complainants can move to Consumer Forum for redressal.

Lost Luggage

What do a airline passenger do when he/she learns on reaching the destination airport that his/her luggage has gone missing  ?

The passenger needs to lodge a complaint with the service desk of the respective airline and the airport staff will electronically locate their luggage – if they can find it – arrange for it to be couriered to the passenger.

What is goodwill and how is it calculated?

Goodwill, a type of intangible asset, is created in an acquisition and reflects the value (from an accounting standpoint) of a company that is not attributed to its other assets and liabilities.  Goodwill is calculated by subtracting the target’s book value (written up to fair market value) from the equity purchase price paid for the company. 

This equation is sometimes referred to as the “excess purchase price.”  Accounting rules state that goodwill no longer should be amortized each period, but must be tested once per year for impairment.  Absent impairment, goodwill can remain on a company’s balance sheet indefinitely.

Which regulatory body governs mergers and acquisitions in India?

In India there is no single governing body to govern mergers and acquisitions of companies / business entities.

The statutory law(s) which governs a particular industry, the Industrial Development and Regulation Act,  the Companies Act, the Competition Act, FEMA, Income tax Act, and SEBI (Substantial acquisition of shares and takeovers) Rules 2011 – knows as the ‘takeover code’, all together (but not limited to these) have rules and regulations which have to be followed for M & A in India.

What is Lateral Merger ?

A Lateral Merger is where a business merges with a business entity which makes similar goods to it but are not in competition with each other, for example if a car manufacturer merged with a luxury car manufacturer as both cater to different segment of customers.

What is Conglomerate Merger?

Conglomerate Mergers is the kind of merger between two companies in totally unrelated businesses or industries.   Like if a Pharma company wants to enter into FMCG segment by buying a company selling FMCGs.

What is Congeneric Merger?

Congeneric merger is when two companies belonging to the same/ related industry – but producing/ dealing in different products merging to form a company.

Generic means in simple words – generally meaning the same.

Lets say, a producer of professional rackets for the game of Badminton – and a company producing only Tennis rackets merge to go global with their rackets.

What is Reverse Merger?

Reverse Merger is a process when a private company  buys a public company to automatically become a publicly traded company – and it does not have to undertake initial public offer (IPO).  It enables the private company to become a public company without the actual hassles and costs of IPO and other initial formalities that a public company has to compulsorily undergo.

What is Vertical Merger?

A Vertical Merger is a merger between two companies that operate at separate stages of the production process for a specific finished product.  A vertical merger occurs when two or more firms, operating at different levels within an industry’s supply chain, merge operations.

For example : In chain of distribution – there is a producer – then the wholesaler/ agent – retailer – buyer.

If a Footwear producing company purchases the company responsible for distributing its products – then it is vertical merger.

Or a car manufacturing company purchases the company producing the tyres is uses on its cars.

What is Horizontal Merger?

When two companies which belong to the same industry merge to attain a common goal i.e to increase their profit margins – for example if Spicejet and Indigo merge! They belong to the same industry = Aviation, it is known as Horizontal merger.

What are the reasons for which a company would want to taker over another company?

There are a number of reasons for a merger/ purchase/ amalgamation to happen:

  • To gain the benefit of synergy– the manufacturing company, struggling to cut costs on distribution  may purchase another company which has a very well established distribution channel to support its logistics requirement. Thereby, the best features of both the companies, manufacturing and distribution, together will bring best results to the resulting company.
  • Mergers also happen to get benefit under the Income Tax Act, 1961 – whereby, a company which is earning a lot of profit and incidentally has a huge tax liability may chose to buy a loss making company and take benefit of its loss to set off (and carry forward the loss too for further set-off) against its profits – thereby reducing its tax liability.
  • Diversification is also one of the most important reasons for merger – suppose you are successful manufacturer of soaps which is a FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods) – and you would like to branch out and add more products under your brand name.
  • You could start your own confectionery productions – construct a separate plant, buy new machines, develop new confectionery items etc. etc. = a lot of cost + you also need to be better than the company selling confectionery items in the market.

Instead, you could buy the company selling confectionery items and add it to your brand name! You’ll get the ready-made and working infrastructure/ factory/ machines/ confectionery product recipes/ employees/ ready market too!

Sometimes mergers happen to build from strength to strength with very little delay – two moderately successful companies join to become one big fish in the pond.

For example a pharmaceutical company buys the R & D division of another company to add to its R & D to develop new and improved medicinal drugs.

Mergers and acquisition also happens to eliminate competition– if a new and upcoming mobile manufacturing company is making small waves in the market – cut it off before it starts making big waves on its own and usurping your market position – buy it out so that ‘it’ becomes ‘you’

Merger or acquisition may also happen to enter another country in business terms – you are successfully running a telecom company in your country and you want to increase your footprint world wide – you buy small private telecom service providers in foreign lands!

Then there is the simple reason – to increase market share.

What does the term merger and acquisition mean ?

Merger and Acquisition (“M&A”) refers to the aspect of corporate strategy, corporate finance and management dealing with the buying, selling and combining of different companies that can aid, finance, or help a growing company in a given industry grow rapidly without having to create another business entity.

Merger : Mergers occur in a consensual (occurring by mutual consent) setting where executives from the target company help those from the purchaser in a due diligence process to ensure that the deal is beneficial to both parties.

Acquisition : An acquisition, also known as a takeover, is the buying of one company (the “target”) by another. An acquisition may be friendly or hostile. In the former case, the companies cooperate in negotiations; in the latter case, the takeover target is unwilling to be bought or the target’s board has no prior knowledge of the offer. Acquisition usually refers to a purchase of a smaller firm by a larger one. Sometimes, however, a smaller firm will acquire management control of a larger or longer established company and keep its name for the combined entity. This is known as a reverse takeover.

What is the maximum number of claims allowed over a year?

Unless there is a specific cap prescribed in any policy. Any number of claims is allowed during the policy period. However the sum insured is the maximum limit under the policy.   For example if an individual has a sum insured amount of Rupees Three lakh, he can file claims for any number of times but the consolidated maximum limit of the claims cannot exceed the sum of three lakh rupees.

What is Family Floater Policy?

As the name itself suggests ‘Family Floater‘ is one policy that takes care of the medical expenses of your entire family. The policy has one single sum insured, which can be utilised by any/all insured persons in any proportion or amount subject to maximum of overall limit of the policy sum insured. Family floater plans are better than buying separate individual policies as they cater for the unexpected medical expenses of all the family members.  It takes care of all the medical expenses during sudden illness, surgeries and accidents.   However, it is advisable to check the persons covered under the definition ‘Family’ with the insurance company before taking the policy.

Can a insurance policy be transferred from one insurance company to another without losing the renewal benefits?

Yes. Effective from 01 Oct 2011, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has issued a circular directing the insurance companies to allow portability from one insurance company to another and from one plan to another, without making the insured to lose the renewal credits for pre-existing conditions, enjoyed in the previous policy. However, this credit will be limited to the Sum Insured (including Bonus) under previous policy.   It is advisable to check with the respective insurance company regarding their policy on porting of plans for any clarification.

What will happen to a medical insurance policy if it is not renewed in time before expiry date ? will the insured be denied renewal?

The policy will be renewable provided the premium is paid within 15 days (called as Grace Period) of expiry date.  For example if a policy is expiring on 30 of a month, the insurer needs to pay the premium on on before the 15th of the subsequent month to renew his policy.  However no medical coverage would be available for the period for which no premium is received by the insurance company. The policy will lapse if the premium is not paid within the grace period.

What is pre-existing condition in health insurance policy?

Pre-existing condition  refers to the medical condition or disease that existed before an individual obtained health insurance policy, and it is significant, because the insurance companies do not cover such pre-existing conditions, within 48 months of prior to the 1st policy.  It means, pre-existing conditions can be considered for payment after completion of 48 months of continuous insurance cover.  It is always advisable  to carefully read the policy offer documents before hand to understand the conditions which are defined as  pre-existing before opting for a policy to avoid rejection of claim at a later date.

Is there any Waiting Period for claims under a policy?

Yes. When an individual purchases a new medical insurance policy, generally there will be a 30 days waiting period starting from the policy inception date during which period any hospitalization charges will not be payable by the insurance companies. For example if a person pays the premium and purchases a policy which comes into force from 01 Apr then any hospitalszation which occurs between 01 Apr to 30 Apr will not be payable by the insurance company.   However, this is not applicable to any emergency hospitalization occurring due to an accident. This waiting period is applicable only for fresh policies and will not be applicable for subsequent policies under renewal.

What are the tax benefits derived out of a Health Insurance?

Health insurance comes with certain Tax benefits provided under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act which is unlike the section 80C applicable to Life Insurance wherein other form of investments/ expenditure also qualify for the deduction. Currently, purchasers of health insurance who have purchased the policy by any payment mode other than cash can avail of an annual deduction of Rs. 15,000 from their taxable income for payment of Health Insurance premium for self, spouse and dependent children. For senior citizens, this deduction is higher, and is Rs. 20,000. Further, since the financial year 2008-09, an additional Rs 15,000 is available as deduction for health insurance premium paid on behalf of parents, which again is Rs 20,000 if the parents are senior citizens.

What is cashless facility?

What does a Health Insurance policy not cover?

Before taking a medical insurance it is always advisable to thoroughly read the prospectus / policy and understand what is not covered under it. Generally, pre-existing diseases are excluded under a Health Insurance policy.  The policy would also generally exclude certain diseases from the first year of coverage as well as impose a waiting period. There would also be certain standard exclusions such as cost of spectacles, contact lenses and hearing aids not being covered, dental treatment/surgery ( unless requiring hospitalization) not being covered, convalescence,  congenital external defects, venereal disease, intentional self-injury, etc.  

What are the factors that affect Health Insurance premium?

There are a number of factors which determine the premium amount of a health insurance viz a viz :

  • Age is a major factor that determines the premium, the older you are the premium cost will be higher because you are more prone to illnesses.
  • Previous medical history is another major factor that determines the premium. If no prior medical history exists, premium will automatically be lower. 
  • Claim free years can also be a factor in determining the cost of the premium as it might benefit you with certain percentage of discount. This will automatically help you reduce your premium.

What are the forms of Health Insurance available?

There are various types of health insurance policies available in India presently.  However, the common form of health insurance policies in India cover the expenses incurred on Hospitalization. Off late variety of health insurance policies are made available which offer a range of health covers, depending on the need and choice of the insured. The health insurer usually provides either direct payment to hospital (cashless facility) or reimburses the expenses associated with illnesses and injuries or disburses a fixed benefit on occurrence of an illness. The type and amount of health care costs that will be covered by the health plan are specified in advance.  Specific illness cover such as cancer is also available.

What is Health Insurance?

Health insurance is a type of insurance that covers medical expenses of the insured. A health insurance policy is a contract between an insurer and an individual /group in which the insurer agrees to provide specified health insurance cover at a particular “premium” to meet the medical expenses of the insured.

In Motor Vehicle Insurance what does the term “Total Loss” denote?

The term “Total Loss” refers to the damage the vehicle sustained due to the accident  where the cost of repairs amounts to more than 75% of the IDV on your policy.

What are the cirumstances under which an FIR is necessary to claim the Insurance?

An FIR is required to be filed under the following circumstances to claim the insurance :-

Any third party personal injury or death due to an accident involving your vehicle.
Any personal injury or death of a paid driver.
Any personal injury or death of an owner-driver.
Any personal injury or death of a passenger.
Any third party property damage.
Theft of the entire vehicle.
Theft of accessories, stereo-recorders, other vehicle parts.
Any loss or damage to the vehicle by miscreants, rioters, terrorists, arsonists, etc.

Can the insurance be continued in the name of the previous owner even after the vehicle is transferred in RTO records on sale to another person?

No. Registration and insurance of the vehicle should always be in the same name with the same address. Otherwise, the claim is not maintainable.  In the event of transfer of ownership of a vehicle, a fresh proposal form needs to be filled in.   The insurance can also be tranferred on payment of a nominal fee.

Can the Motor Vehicle Insurance be transferred to the buyer on sale of vehicle?

Yes, the insurance can be transferred to the buyer of the vehicle, provided the seller informs in writing of such transfer to the insurance company.

A fresh proposal form needs to be filled in on payment of a  nominal fee for transfer of insurance along with pro-rata recovery of NCB from the date of transfer till policy expiry.

Tansfer of ownership in comprehensive/package policies has to be recorded within 14 days from date of transfer failing which no claim will be payable for own damage to the vehicle.

Is it mandatory to inform the insurance company if the vehicle is fitted with CNG or LPG kit?

If a vehicle is fitted with a CNG / LPG kit after purchase, the (Road Transport Authority (RTA) office where the vehicle was registered should be informed so that they make a note of the change in the registration certificate (RC) of the vehicle.

The insurance company should also be informed so that the kit is covered on payment of extra premium on the value of the kit.  If the insurance company is not informed about the fitment of CNG/LPG Kit and thereafter the vehicle meets with an accident, the company may deny the insurance claim citing the reason that the vehicle has been tampered with and the same has not been informed to them.

What is a “NCB” or “No Claim Bonus”?

NCB or No Claim Bonus is the benefit accrued to an insured for not making any claims during the previous policy period.  It is a monetary benefit extended by the insurance agency to the insurer on account of no claim paid out.

NCB in India ranges from 20%to a maximum of 50%.

If a claim is lodged, the No Claim Bonus is lost in the subsequent policy period.

A most important point to note is that NCB is given to the insured and not to the insured vehicle. Hence, on transfer of the vehicle, the insurance policy can be transferred to new owner but not the NCB. The new owner has to pay the difference on account of NCB for the balance policy period.The original owner can, however, use the NCB on a new vehicle purchased by him.  This has to be kept in mind while purchasing a second hand vehicle.

What is the duration of validity of the policy?

  • A motor insurance policy is usually valid for a period of one year and has to be renewed before the due date.
  • Generally, no  grace period is offered for paying the premium. Hence it is always advisable to pay the premium before the due date to avoid inconvenience.
  • In case of lapse of policy by even one day, the vehicle has to be produced physically for inspection.
  • If a comprehensive policy is allowed to lapse for more than 90 days, the accrued benefit of NCB (No Claim Bonus) is also lost.

What is the limit of a motor vehicle insurance?

The sum for which the vehicle is insured is called IDV i.e “Insured’s Declared Value” and normally reflect’s the current market value of the vehicle. Under Liability insurance, Third Party Liability insurance is covered. There is unlimited coverage to Third parties injury and Third party property damage is covered up to a maximum sum of Rs 7,50,000.

How is the premium for a motor vehicle insurance determined?

A lot of factors determine the rate of premium for a motor vehicle insurance.  Different insurance providers charge different premiums for the same type of policy.

Some of the factors  that determine the premium rate of a vehicles is

  •  Age of vehicle;
  • Discounts / loadings- Appropriate Bonus / loading/ discounts along with past claims experience are taken into account while calculating premium.
  • IDV (Insured Declared Value).
Third Party Liability Premium rates are laid down by IRDA and are much lesser in comparssion to a comprehensive insurance policy as they cater only for the liability arising out of damage to property / injury / death of a third party and not for the occupants of the vehicle or the vehicle itself.
It is always advisable to make sure that the renewal of insurance is done well in time to avoid break in insurance.  In case of a break in insurance, vehicle inspection would be required and the same would be charged extra.

What is the period of the policy?

A motor vehicle insurance policy is usually valid for a period of one year and has to be renewed before the due date.   In case of lapse of policy by even one day, the vehicle has to be inspected and certified to be free from any damages for the renewal to be effected.  If a comprehensive policy is allowed to lapse for more than 90 days, the accrued benefit of NCB (No Claim Bonus) is also lost.  Off-late certain Insurance companies are offering Long Term Motor Vehicle Insurance valid for up to a period of three years.

What is a Motor Vehicle Insurance?

Motor or vehicle insurance is an insurance policy that protects the owner of the vehicle against any financial loss arising out of damage or theft of vehicle. Motor vehicle insurance coverage also includes compensation in respect of damage caused to third party or property.  It is mandatory for an owner of a motor vehicle to be in possession of at least a third party Motor Insurance to ply his vehicle on road in India as per the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988.  Motor Insurance is available for both cars and two wheelers.

Which is the best Motor Insurance cover ? Comprehensive Insurance or Liability Policy only?

As per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 Third Party Liability insurance is mandatory for all vehicles plying on public roads in India. This type of insurance covers Liability for injuries and damages which might be incurred to other fellow road users to whose safety you are responsible for. However, it is always advisable to opt for a ‘Comprehensive’ Motor Vehicle  as it would offer cover for both ‘Liability’ as well as ‘Own damages’.  Third Party Insurance is also know as Act Only cover.

How will the buyer’s interest be protected if an existing registration is revoked ?

In the event when the RERA has adequate cause to revoke an existing registration of a project, it can advise the appropriate Government to employ a competent authority to complete the project so that the buyer’s interests are not harmed. The Association of buyers will have the first right to accept or refuse any further developmental activities in the project.

The following would result in the event of Revoking of registration :–

    • The concerned builder / developer whose registration was revoked will be listed as a defaulter and will be denied access to site of the project in which he has defaulted
    • RERA will then inform RERAs of other states and UTs.
    • It will direct the bank to freeze the bank account of the particular project and consequently unfreeze it for further developmental work, if accepted / required based on the consensus reached between the buyers and the authorities.
    • Further, RERA may, instead of revoking registration, permit registration to remain in force and enforce such further terms and conditions as it thinks fit to impose which shall be binding on the builder / developer, to safeguard the interest of the allottees .

 

 

Can the registration granted to a builder / developer be revoked ?

Yes.  Registration under RERA can be revoked by the competent authority if a formal complaint is received against the developer and it is established that the Developer has not complied with the rules under the Act, or has violated the terms and conditions of approval, or is involved in unfair practices to sell, market or advertise his projects. 

Are there any exemptions from registering a property under RERA ?

Under Section 3(2) of the RERA Act, exemption from registering a project under the following circumstances has been granted :

(a) Where area of land proposed to be developed does not exceed 500 sq m or number of apartments proposed to be developed does not exceed eight, inclusive of all phases. While the central government provides for these minimum area requirements the local governments can change the area requirements to conform to the Act, if required such minimum area threshold can be revised even lower.
(b) Where promoter has received completion certificate for Real Estate Project prior to commencement of Act
(c) For purpose of renovation or repair or re-development which does not involve marketing, advertising, selling or new allotment of any apartment, plot or building, under real estate project

Will it be mandatory for all builders / developers to register all their projects under the Act?

Forthwith, builders / developers will not be able to sell any new project without first registering their project with the RERA. The Act stipulates that no developer or builder shall advertise, market, book, sell or offer for sale, or invite persons to purchase any plot, apartment or building, in any real estate project or any part of it, in any planning area, without registering their project with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).

Is RERA applicable only on future projects ?

Section 3(1) of the Act stipulates that ongoing / existing projects, which have not received occupation (OC) or completion certificate (CC), shall be covered under the Act. Builders / Developers must mandatorily register such projects under RERA, within three months of implementation of the Act.  All projects  with a plot size of at least 500 square metres, or eight apartments should be registered with regulatory authorities.  On going project which have not obtained completion certificate will immediately come under the purview of the Act. Thereby consumers of under construction projects can seek protection under the Act.

Does RERA cover commercial properties also ?

All residential and commercial projects, including shops, offices and buildings are governed by RERA, 2016.

From when does RERA come in to effect ?

The Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016  came into effect on 01 May 2017.

What are the objectives of RERA ? What is its significance ?

The Government of India in an effort to streamline the Real Estate Sector as well as to protect the interest of the consumers’ covering transaction of all commercial and residential real-estate has enacted the ‘Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Act, 2016’ shortly RERA.  An urgent  need for regulations and uniform guidelines was felt inescapable owing to a scenario where the consumer discontent was rising by the day, giving concomitant rise to litigation related to the real estate sector and its allied activities . Some of the broad objectives covered by RERA,2016 are:–

  1. To bring transparency and efficiency in the process of buying and selling of Real-estate.
  2. To provide legal cover and to protect consumers’ interests / rights in the Real Estate sector.
  3. To ensure that there is a defined process and efficient handling of disputes in a time bound manner.
  4. To define and standardize term and measures, so as to bring all concerned parties to the same level of understanding, thereby also lending certain standardization across builders / projects. This will further help consumers to compare diverse projects and developers with ease to make an informed decision.
  5. Defining duties, liabilities and penalties for builders / developers and brokers / intermediaries.
  6. Setting up timelines for registration processes and dispute resolution.
  7. RERA mandates all developers / builders to upload all relevant information regarding a project – viz. Details of land titles, approvals, construction progress, names of brokers etc, on their website. These information shall then be easily available in one place.

What is RERA?

RERA stands for Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016.  Further, it is also refers to the  local Real Estate Regulatory Authority which, as per the Act, is required to be formed in each state and UT.

What is the term of patent?

The term of every patent in India is 20 years from the date of filing of patent application, irrespective of whether it is filed with provisional or complete specification. However, in case of applications filed under PCT the term of  20 years begins from the International filing date.

Q: How can an inventor or designer find out that an invention is already patented or not?

The inventor or designer or for the fact any person concerned can perform a preliminary search on Patent Office website in the Indian patent database of granted patent or Patent Office journal published every week.  It can also be done my  searching the documents kept in the Patent Office Search and Reference Room,wherein Indian patents are arranged according to international patent classification system as well as in serial number.

It is open to the general public from Monday to Friday, except Gazetted holidays. The public can also conduct search free of charge on the website of Patent Office. The concerned person can make a request for such information under section 153 of the Act also.

What are the various stages involved in the grant of patent?

The following are the various stages involved in the grant of a patent :

  • After filing the application for the grant of patent, a request for examination is required to be made by the applicant or by third party.
  • Thereafter it is taken up for examination by the Patent office.
  • Usually, the First Examination Report is issued and the applicant is given an opportunity to correct the deficiencies in order to meet the objections raised in the said report.
  • The applicant must comply with the requirements within the prescribed time otherwise his application would be treated as deemed to have been abandoned.
  • When all the requirements are met, the patent is granted and notified in the Patent office Journal.
  • However before the grant of patent and after the publication of application, any person can make a representation for pre-grant opposition.

Does the Patent Office Keep information of the invention Secret?

Yes. All the information regarding the invention are kept secret upto 18 months from the date of filing of the patent application or priority date whichever is earlier. Thereafter they are published in the Official Journal of the Patent Office which is published weekly and the same is also available on the IPO website. Post publication, public can inspect the patent documents and also may take the photocopy thereof on payment of the fee as prescribed.

What are the criteria of patentability?

An invention must meet the folloiwng criteria to become patentable :

  • It should be novel /unique.
  • It should have inventive step or it must be non-obvious
  • It should be capable of Industrial application.
  • It should not fall within the provisions of section 3 and 4 of the Patents Act 1970.

Who can apply for a patent?

An application for patent  can be filed either by the true and first inventor or his assignee, either alone or jointly with any other person. However, legal representative of any deceased person can also make an application for patent.

What can be patented?

An invention which relates either to a product or process that is new,  involves an inventive step and most importantly capable of industrial application can be patented. However, it must not fall into the categories of inventions that are non-patentable under section 3 and 4 of the Act.

Does Indian Patent give protection worldwide?

Patent protection is territorial right and therefore it is effective only within the territory of India. However, filing an application in India enables the applicant to file a corresponding application for same invention in convention countries, within or before expiry of twelve months from the date of filing in India. It is advisable to obtain separate patents in each country where the applicant requires protection of his invention . At present there is no single patent which offer worldwide validity.

What is a Patent?

A Patent is a statutory right for an invention granted for a limited period of time to the inventor / designer also known as the patentee by the Government, in exchange of full disclosure of his invention for excluding others, from making, using, selling, importing the patented product or process for producing that product for those purposes without his consent.  A Patent is generally issued to protect the financial interests of the patentee.