Can’t blame Railways for Stolen Luggage unless Booked: NCDRC

NEW DELHI: The apex consumer commission has refused to grant relief to a woman who lost her suitcase while travelling in a train, saying the Railways is not responsible unless the luggage was booked and a receipt was issued.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) set aside the lower foras’ orders asking Railways to compensate the woman, a West Bengal resident, for the alleged theft onboard Lokmanya Tilak Shalimar Express train in 2011.

The NCDRC set aside Chhattisgarh state commission’s order that had upheld a district forum’s decision asking it to pay Rs 1.30 lakh to the passenger for the loss of luggage.

The apex consumer commission agreed to the contention of the Railways that as per Section 100 of the Railway Act, 1989, it shall not be responsible for the loss, destruction, damage, or non-delivery of any luggage, unless a railway servant has booked the luggage and given a receipt.

“We do not find any deficiency in service on the part of the Railway officials. The order passed by both the fora below clearly perverse in the eyes of law and, thus, are set aside,” a Bench headed by Presiding Member B C Gupta said.

The commission said no negligence was attributable to any specific employee. “No booking was made with the Railways and hence, the provisions of Section 100 of the Railways Act, are applicable in the matter,” it added.

According to the complaint, Mamta Agrawal was travelling in the train on September 5, 2011, with a suitcase containing articles worth Rs.3 lakh consisting of three gold chains, two diamond rings and a simple ring along with Rs 15,000 cash and clothes of children. It alleged that when the train arrived near Rourkela, some miscreants stole her luggage.

The Railways, however, contended that since the passenger was carrying the baggage with her without booking it, she herself was responsible.