Not providing vegetarian food trays to two children travelling by Kalka Shatabdi has cost the Northern Railway as the consumer court has directed it to pay a compensation of Rs 15,000, including the cost of litigation, to the complainant.
Jagjit Singh, 47, a resident of Mohali, was travelling along with his family, including his father-in-law Mohan Singh, wife and two children. He was visiting Kanpur to meet his brother-in-law, by availing LTC facility and purchased the railway tickets of Kalka Shatabdi for the journey. He boarded the train at Chandigarh Railway Station at 6.53 am, following which the staff served breakfast. The complainant was surprised to see that the staff served the breakfast only to the complainant, his wife and father-in-law. But did not provide any breakfast to his son and daughter saying that they “do not have any left”. The complainant reported the matter to the TTE as well as mentioned this fact in the feedback form provided to him.
On reaching New Delhi, the complainant was informed by the station master there that the train booked by them for Kanpur is late by 20 hours. Therefore, Jagjit had to cancel the booked tickets and he purchased the tickets of Gomti Express for reaching Kanpur.
The complainant went through a similar delay in train when he was returning from Kanpur on December 12, 2014. On reaching the Railway Station Central, Kanpur, he read a notice pasted on the notice board that the train no. 12033, which was booked by them for reaching New Delhi, was running late by 18 to 20 hours. The complainant had to again get the old tickets cancelled and purchased new ordinary tickets of Paryagraj Express Train No. 12417, but the said train was also delayed and instead of reaching New Delhi at the scheduled time of 3/3.30 pm, it ultimately reached New Delhi about 9 pm. By that time, Jagjit missed the Kalka-Shatabdi Train from New Delhi to Chandigarh. Adding to the agony of the complainant, the station master refused to refund any amount saying that the complainant reached late. The complainant and his family reached Chandigarh by bus.
In its reply, the Railways stated that the said complaint was not maintainable in view of sections 13 and 15 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987. The opposite party further stated that the food never finished in the train and on the day the complainant was travelling in Kalka Shatabdi, there were 892 passengers on board in the train against its capacity of 807 passengers. The total food carried in the train was 900 units and after serving to all passengers, 93 food units were left.
The forum, headed by Ranjan Dewan, observed, “The main grouse of the complainant is with regard to non-serving of vegetarian food to his children causing much discomfort. The complainant had also requested for the refund of charges towards this unserved food… Unfortunately the opposite party failed to provide the break-up of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food trays to show that they were in possession of the vegetarian food trays, which could have been served to the children of the complainant, if he had genuinely demanded so. In absence of any such cogent evidence, we are left to believe the averments of the complaint as well as the sworn affidavit of the complainant to conclude that the opposite parties failed in its service towards the complainant.”
The consumer forum, therefore, directed the Railways to refund the amount charged towards two vegetarian food trays to the complainant along with a compensation of Rs 15,000 for deficiency in services, which also includes Rs 5,00 as cost of litigation.
The forum has asked the Union of India, New Delhi, through its General Manager, Northern Railway, Baroda House, New Delhi; Northern Railway, Ambala, through its Divisional Railway Manager and Northern Railway, Branch Chandigarh, through its Divisional Railway Manager to pay the compensation.