Upholding an order passed by a district forum, the Delhi state consumer forum has directed the Railways Ministry to pay Rs 75,000 as compensation to a city resident as “railway administration failed to prevent unauthorised entry” in a reserved compartment.
The complainant said he had booked a lower berth — while travelling via the Link Dakshin Express on March 30, 2013 — as he was suffering from knee pain. He alleged that when the train stopped at Bina junction in Madhya Pradesh, some “unauthorised people” entered and occupied his berth.
The complainant alleged that he was forced to keep standing, which worsened his knee pain. None of the officials or Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) could be found at the time, the complainant alleged. Claiming that he underwent “a lot of mental stress because of the inconvenience during the journey”, the man moved the district consumer forum claiming Rs 20 lakh as compensation.
Despite being served notice, the ministry (through General Manager of Railways, Railway Bhawan and Divisional Railway Manger, Baroda House) failed to appear before the forum, and was set ex-parte (proceedings to continue in their absence).
The district forum, in its order passed in 2014, said, “We hold the opposite party (the ministry) to pay Rs 75,000 as compensation for harassment, mental agony, physical discomfort and litigation expenses.
We direct Rs 25,000 be deducted from the salary of the TTE who was deputed in the compartment.” The complainant then filed an appeal in the state consumer forum for enhanced compensation. During the proceedings, the counsel for the Railways said the order of the forum could be set aside as the Railways’ arguments were not heard in the matter.
A bench of Justice Veena Birbal and Member, Salma Noor, said, “The respondent was given a chance to contest the case and it did not avail the opportunity.” The bench, however, dismissed the plea for enhancement of compensation.