THE Bombay High Court has come to the relief of students from various schools in the city wanting to travel on study tours during Diwali vacation and whose Passenger Name Records (PNR) were blocked by the railways on the ground of engaging an unauthorised agent for booking tickets.
“The release of the tickets, in my view, shall not effect the investigation in any way. The fact of the tickets having been booked under the relevant PNRs is not called into question,” said Justice Menon.
The court was hearing petitions filed by two city-based organisers, Shrukh Shroff and Niyoti Tizorwala, who organised tours, especially for secondary school students. Their contention was that PNRs of students from 11 schools across the city were blocked by the railway authorities. They also urged urgency as the tours were to commence in end of October.
While Shroff was arrested in connection with the purported illegal booking, interrogated and let off on bail, Tizorwala’s lawyer submitted that she would cooperate with the police’s investigation. The PNRs were blocked on account of the offence registered against agent Kalpesh Shah, who introduced himself as an authorised agent of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC).
It was later found by the police that Shah had booked tickets for school students using illegal means and an offence was registered against him.
The IRCTC, through its lawyer, opposed the relief on the ground that the provisions of Section 143 of Act, apart from awarding sentence of punishment and imposition of fine, also provides for forfeiture of tickets.
The HC, while directing IRCTC to release PNRs, said there was no case of any suspected impersonation as the students, whose names were listed, were entitled to travel.