April 21st, 2017
Indian Railways has to pay Rs 30,000 as a compensation to a family which was unable to use washrooms for over an hour as half the passage to the toilets were blocked.
The deputy legal advisor in the ministry of law and justice, Mr Dav Kant, took the Indian Railways to the consumer court claiming that he and his family, wife and two children, encountered mental and physical stress due to inefficient service while travelling from Amritsar to Delhi in 2009.
Seven years of legal battle
Mr Kant had filed a complaint with the district consumer court saying that a big crowd entered into the reserved compartments at Ludhiana Railway station by force and occupied the vacant seats. Those who were unable to accommodate themselves on the seats, adjusted on the compartment floor and blocked the passages towards the washrooms and the washbasins.
After seven years of extensive legal battle, the state consumer forum upheld the decision of the district consumer court to provide the family with a compensation of Rs 30,000.
Harisharan Bagga, Mr Kant’s son who is also an advocate, could not use the washroom for 90 minutes. “The passage was jam packed and the crowd was uncooperative. Also, apart from my father, my sister and my mother were also travelling with us and it was an uncomfortable situation for them as well,” said Mr Bagga to India Today.
The TTE was also brought to notice by the family, but expressing his inability to handle the crowd, he paid no heed.
The counsel for the Northern Railways stated in the court that the crowd was asked to unboard the train at the Ambala station, hence timely action was taken. It also added that the complaint was filed as a means to extort.
However, the court observed that it is the duty of the railways to permit only authorised passengers to travel in trains which it failed to adhere to. “All the unauthorised persons who boarded the train in the large number naturally caused discomfort, harassment and mental agony to the passengers who were traveling on the valid ticket to travel in the reserved coach and the railway officials failed to prevent the entry that amounts to the deficiency in the service on the part of the railway,” said the order.
The Logical Indian acknowledges the decision of the state consumer forum as more than 20 million people travel in trains every day and it is the duty of the railways to ensure that unauthorised persons do not cause an inconvenience to the people who have purchased valid tickets.