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Forum fines Railways for providing ‘deficient services’

The Northern Railways has been fined Rs 15,000 for making a pay order of Rs 120 payable at Amritsar for a Panchkula resident.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigrah | Published: October 4, 2013 2:49:26 am

The Northern Railways has been fined Rs 15,000 for making a pay order of Rs 120 payable at Amritsar for a Panchkula resident. Slapping the penalty,the UT Consumer Forum also ruled that the Railways was grossly deficient in services for making a senior citizen wait unnecessarily for such a petty amount.

The forum observed,“In today’s times when senior citizens are accorded special schemes and benefits,the complainant has been unnecessarily made to wait for the refund of a petty amount and thereby put to lot of harassment and mental agony”.

Om Prakash Asija,72 years old,had cancelled his ticket worth Rs 240 for the Jan Shatabdi Express hours before his journey from Chandigarh to New Delhi in July 2001. He was supposed to get a refund of Rs 120. After completing all formalities,Asija was made to wait for six months only to receive a pay order payable at Amritsar.

When he approached a bank presenting the pay order,he was told Rs 250 would be deducted as collection charges for the refund of Rs 120 as the same was payable at Amritsar. An aggrieved Asija had then returned the pay order to the Railways and asked for a proper refund. However,his request fell on deaf ears.

The counsel for Northern Railways,however,pleaded that on getting the pay order back,a fresh pay order payable at Chandigarh was issued and hence the Railways could not be called deficient in its services. It was contended the payment of the refund was further delayed as the second pay order was returned on account of being posted to a wrong address.

The Forum,however,turned down the contention observing,“opposite parties should have come forward with the action taken by them thereafter”.

It also maintained that “opposite parties have failed to explain as to what efforts were made by them for sending the pay order again to the complainant during the period of more than two months”. The Railways had received the pay order in February 2013,while Asija filed the complaint in May.

Finding the Railways “lethargic” in handling the matter,the forum directed it to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation for causing harassment and agony and Rs 5,000 as legal costs to Asija within a period of 45 days.

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