Observing that judges are not used to hiccups and inconveniences in their travel, a district consumer forum last week slapped Indian Railways with a fine of Rs 60,000 for causing discomfort to a retired judge and his family during a train journey to Bhopal two years ago.
In November 2012, Justice Dilip Raosaheb Deshmukh, who is the Chairman of the Company Law Board, and his family boarded a train to Bhopal.
He claimed before the New Delhi District Forum that the doors to his coach were shut at the time of boarding and his seats were transferred to another coach without intimating him.
The judge also claimed that the defence taken by the railways before the forum was a lie. The Railways claimed that the allotted seats had been changed owing to the fact that they had been reserved under the VIP quota. The forum noted that the ticket did not indicate any such VIP status.
The forum also noted that the written arguments by the railways “failed to show any communication” about “change in seating plan” and why the coach was locked. Holding the railways responsible for “deficiency of services” under the Consumer Protection Act and lying during the arguments, the forum awarded Rs 50,000 as compensation and Rs 10,000 as litigation expenses.
“These facts clearly show an attempt… to accommodate some other persons in place of reserved seats for complainants… resulting in avoidable hardship, inconvenience, humiliation and harassment to complainant — judges who are not used to such hiccups and inconvenience in journeys… We hold the opposite party guilty of deficiency and award punitive damages for resorting to falsehood …,” a three-member panel of judges C K Chaturvedi and members S R Choudhary and Asha Kumar said.