After A Two-Year Wait, Rajasthan Man Gets Rs 33 As Refund From IRCTC
A Kota-based engineer fought a legal battle for two years, with absolute tenacity and got what was his — a refund of Rs 33 from the Indian Railways.
30-year-old Sujeet Swamy had booked the ticket in April 2017, before the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and cancelled it subsequently.
He had booked it for a journey on July 2, 2017, a day after the new tax regime was brought into force.
For two years, Swamy fought a battle to obtain a refund of Rs 35 from the IRCTC, but ended up getting Rs 33 after deduction of Rs 2.
Swamy had booked a ticket to New Delhi from Kota in April 2017 for a journey on July 2. Since the ticket, worth Rs 765, was in the wait-list, he cancelled it and got Rs 665 as refund.
“Rs. 100 was deducted instead of Rs. 65 against cancellation of a wait listed ticket. I have been following up the case since 2017 and was given only assurances that the amount would be refunded,” Swamy was quoted telling the media.
Even though he had cancelled the ticket prior to the GST implementation, he was charged an extra amount of Rs 35 as service tax.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said in its reply to the RTI that Swamy filed, that as per the commercial circular number 43 of the Ministry of Railways, tickets that were booked before the implementation of GST but cancelled after the implementation, the service tax charged shall not be refunded.
Hence, Rs 100 (Rs 35 as service tax and Rs 65 as clerical charge) was charged against the cancelled ticket.
Later, in a change in policy, it was decided that the total amount of service tax that was charged at the time of booking will be refunded for tickets that were booked before July 1, 2017, and cancelled.
On May 1, 2019, Swamy received an amount of Rs 33 in his bank.
According to swamy, in April 2018, he had moved a petition in Lok Adalat, which was disposed of in January, as the issue was out of its jurisdiction.
“I kept following the matter through RTIs. It was a long battle I had to fight. My RTIs were transferred 10 times from one department to another from December 2018 till April end. Finally, I have received Rs. 33 in bank account,” Swami said.
Instead of compensating him, for the “harassment” that IRCTC made him go through, Swamy said, it deducted Rs 2 from the amount of refund. He now plans to follow-up the case with IRCTC for missing Rs 2.
Swamy is, however, not the only person affected. Another RTI that he filed showed that more than 9 lakh passengers had booked their tickets before the GST implementation and cancelled them for a time period between July 1 to July 11, during which the service tax was charged.
“The total service tax charged from these passengers amounts to Rs. 3.34 crore. Most of the passengers did not even know about it and must have forgotten,” Swami said, quoting the reply to his RTI.