THE DISTRICT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Haryana Roadways (HR) to give a compensation of Rs 500 on account of deficient services as the roadways driver was smoking while driving. Passing the order on Friday, the forum said, “No doubt it is argued by the Haryana Roadways director that as suitable action has been taken against the driver during departmental proceedings, no action is required to be taken by this forum. But, we are of the view that the same was an independent remedy, which the department was to initiate against the guilty driver. The complainant has his own remedy under the Consumer Protection Act before this forum and even if departmental action has been taken against the driver, the complainant cannot be denied his remedy before the consumer forum.”
The forum said that since it has been proved that Haryana Roadways was deficient in rendering proper service to the complainant, the present complaint deserves to succeed. Complainant Ashok Kumar, a native of Hisar, stated in the complaint that he was going to Bhiwani by a Haryana Roadways bus. During the journey, the driver of the bus started smoking due to which the complainant felt uneasy.
Kumar requested the driver to stop smoking as it is banned in public places and transport. But, the driver threw the residue of the beedi after smoking it. The complainant raised the issue with the conductor, who threatened him, instead. Kumar then lodged a formal complaint on the helpline, 01664-242230, which further directed him to contact another number.
He then gave a written complaint to the HR authorities on May 27, 2016. Kumar then sought information under the RTI and found that the roadways had fined its employee for smoking but no concrete steps were taken to stop such smoking. Kumar then filed a case in the consumer courts on August 26, last year.
In its reply, the HR officials said the driver lit the ‘beedi’ while driving the bus but threw it away on the request of the complainant. And, on receiving the complaint, the driver was fined Rs 100 and charge-sheeted as well.