New Delhi: Railways has been directed by the apex consumer commission to pay Rs 1.01 lakh to a passenger for not informing him in advance about the change in train’s route due to which he could not undertake his journey.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) also expressed surprise that despite having the phone number and address of the complainant, the Railways did not make an attempt to inform him about the change in route.
“It was the duty of opposite party staff manning ticket counter to know every relevant information about running of the desired train between the starting and destination points, while issuing the reservation ticket to the passenger. The complainant might not be aware of the diversion of the route….
“It was a surprise, the reservation form was filled by the complainant, which carried each and every information of the passenger, such as his address, telephone/mobile number etc. Opposite party should have at least been careful and made an attempt to send SMS or communicated on the address of such passengers to whom reservations were issued,” a bench presided by Justice J M Malik said.
The Railway in its appeal had contended that the route of the train, Utkal Kalinga Express, was diverted due to Naxalite attack on another train on the same route. It also said that change in the route was advertised in various newspapers.
The NCDRC, rejected the contention saying, “it was not a compulsion to read newspapers”.
“Hence, in our opinion, the opposite party has not acted cautiously, while issuing the ticket to the complainant and subsequently not intimating either by way of SMS or contacting him on his postal address,” it said.
It dismissed the Railways’ appeal against a November 2013 order of West Bengal State Consumer Commission which had asked the state-run enterprise to pay Rs 1.01 lakh as compensation to complainant, Susanta Kumar Saha, who could not undertake his journey from Kharagpur to Puri in Odisha due to diversion of the train’s route.
Saha came to know about the diversion after he reached Kharagpur railway station.