You Can Now Claim Compensation From Railways For Luggage Theft In General Class
Railways are now liable to compensate you- the passenger, for theft of luggage even in general class, as per the direction of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).
The commission rejected the railways’ plea contending that it is not liable to provide security for luggage in the general compartment, only reserved compartment. The contention that the passengers in general class should take care of their own luggage was brushed aside by a bench headed by Prem Narain.
The railways was directed by the bench to pay compensation of Rs 3,000 to a Bihar resident who lost his baggage in general class, with interest at the rate of 6% per year from 2004 when the incident took place. Kamal Narain Roy’s luggage was stolen when the engine was detached from the train and the compartment was dark.
Data furnished by railway ministry under the RTI reveals that over 1.71 lakh cases of theft were reported in the last 10 years, and cases reached a peak of 36,584 in 2018. As against 22,106 in 2016 and 19,215 in 2015, a total of 33,044 such cases were registered in 2017. The cases of theft have seen a 5-fold increase from 2009 to 2018.
The state consumer commission and the district consumer forum had ordered in the passenger’s favour. The railways then moved NCDRC.
NCDRC Slams The Railways
The NCDRC slammed the railways while upholding the orders for filing the petition within 98 days of delay. Its appeal was dismissed both on the ground of merit and delay.
According to the Indian railways, consultations with its legal department and taking approval from the higher authority to file the petition caused the delay. The Commission, however, dismissed the arguments saying they are not sufficient to condone the delay.
“It is clear that in the present case, no reasonable diligence has been shown by the petitioner in filing the present petition. On the basis of the authoritative judgements of the Supreme Court, it is seen that the negligence and deliberate inaction are clearly imputable to the petitioner. I do not find any sufficient reason to condone the huge delay of 98 days in filing the present revision petition. Based on the above reasons the revision petition is dismissed on the ground of limitation as well as on merit,” NCDRC said.