The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Northern Railways to refund the money spent by a Panchkula resident on alternative travel arrangements made by him to travel from Chandigarh to Pune after the train was delayed.
Complainant Pawan Kumar Prasher,a resident of Mansa Devi Complex,Panchkula,alleged deficiency in service on part of the Station Superintendent at the Chandigarh railway station and Divisional Railway Manager,Northern Railway,Ambala Division,Ambala Cantonment.
Prasher said that his daughter Shruti Prasher,presently studying at Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies in Pune,had come to Panchkula on a vacation and had to rejoin the institute on November 19,2007.
She travelled from Chandigarh to New Delhi by Kalka Shatabdi from where she was to board a flight to Pune on November 18,2007,the departure time for which was 2.20 pm.
It was alleged that the scheduled arrival time of the train at the New Delhi railway station was 10 am but the train got delayed and reached at 2.05 pm due to which Shruti was unable to board the flight.
Prasher maintained that as she had no place to stay in Delhi,she had to come back to Panchkula till suitable arrangements could be made for her travel.
Further,he claimed that the airline refused to refund the money as the ticket has to be surrendered for cancellation at least 2 hours before the departure time.
Replying to the complaint,the Railways took preliminary objection stating that the consumer forum has no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint as the cause of action arose at Ambala where the announcement regarding derailment of a train at Sonepat was made. The forum,however,dismissed this contention saying that the ticket was purchased and the train was boarded from Chandigarh. Thus,the forum had jurisdiction to act on the complaint.
Denying any deficiency in service,the Railways maintained that the train was delayed due to a derailment at Sonepat station and all the trains were diverted via the Saharanpur-Shamli section.
It was also claimed that a proper announcement was made at the Ambala Cantt railway station that the train would be diverted and the passengers who did not want to travel on the route could get a refund of their ticket at the Ambala station.
The railways said that the complainants daughter missed the flight due to her negligence as she did not seek a refund and instead decided to travel by the train till Delhi.
President of the consumer forum,Jagroop Singh Mahal,ruled that Prasher is entitled to a reimbursement of Rs 3,824 that was spent on ticket fare.
The railways have to pay a total of Rs 7,324 inclusive of taxi fare,bus fare and costs of litigation.