Mumbai: Batting for the rights of commuters, the apex consumer body recently upheld a state commission order directing Northern Railways to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to a waitlisted CRPF officer, H Singh, who had to endure harassment at the hands of a ticket-checker who demanded excess money to allot him one of the four vacant seats on a Rajdhani train in 2002.
“No reason is forthcoming as to why Singh, holding a waitlisted ticket, was not allotted one of the four seats which had been rendered vacant on account of cancellations. In the circumstances, the factum of harassment and levying penalty is nothing but deficiency of service on the part of the railways, who are liable to compensate the complainant for the mental agony, harassment and financial loss suffered at their hands,” the national consumer disputes redressal commission said, while citing a district forum order passed in Singh’s favour. The railways had filed an appeal in the state commission after the forum directed it to refund the penalty taken from Singh. Following a dismissal of the appeal, a revision plea was filed before the national commission in 2010.
Singh said he had a waitlisted AC two-tier ticket for Rajdhani Express from New Delhi to Lumding for September 28, 2002. When he approached the TC at Delhi and showed him the ticket, he was told to pay Rs 500 for a seat. When Singh refused to pay, the TC began to harass him, telling him to get off or to pay a Rs 3,350 penalty—the full fare.
Singh said the TC also flashed a message to RPF Allahabad to detrain him. But he was allowed to travel after paying the penalty. The next day, Singh registered a complaint inGuwahati and also informed the railway authorities, but he got no relief.
The railways said since Singh had a waitlisted ticket, he was not authorized to travel without permission. They argued that being a defaulter, he was penalized as per rules and regulations. The railways admitted that four seats had fallen vacant and Singh was the only waitlisted passenger on the train. But the commission pointed out that Singh had taken permission from authorities before boarding the train.