In an order against the Haryana State Transport, the Chandigarh Consumer Forum directed it to pay Rs 1,500 to a Hisar resident, on the latter’s complaint that a bus conductor was smoking on the route from Jind to Nagura. On September 14, 2016, Ashok Kumar Parjapat boarded the Haryana Roadways bus (HR56A2476) from Jind to Nagura, at 6 am for a ticket of Rs 15. As he boarded the bus from the rear door, he felt uneasy and suffocated due to smoke inside the bus. Parjapat found that the conductor of the bus namely, Dalbir Singh, who was sitting parallel to the driver’s seat, was smoking.
The driver of the bus did not stop the conductor from smoking on the route, even as smoking in public place is prohibited under the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003. Thus, Parjapat, filed a formal complaint against the Haryana State Transport on August 14, 2018.
In a reply to the complaint, Haryana State Transport Director General said that it was not the registered owner of the bus and the competent authority in the case of the was the General Manager, as per the Haryana Transport Department (Group C), Haryana Roadways Service Rules, 1995. The reply further said that the complainant did not
submit any evidence that a health hazard was caused to him, which entitles him the compensation for defective services.
On the other hand, Haryana State Transport Commissioner said that the Transport department (Regulatory Wing) was not impleaded as a party and the matter was related to the office of Director General, State Transport/Haryana Roadways and they had already filed their reply. After filing the reply, the State Transport authorities absented and thus, were proceeded ex-parte. However, on July 15, 2019, Inderpreet Kaur, Assistant District Attorney, appeared on behalf of the State Transport and the written submissions were heard.
On hearing the arguments, the forum held that the employees and officials (both driver and conductor) of
the Haryana Roadways, who were found smoking, be fined Rs 200 each. “No doubt, suitable action has been taken by the Opposite Parties (Haryana State Transport) against them in the departmental proceedings, but we are of the view that the same was an independent remedy which the department was to initiate against the guilty employees/officials.”
Thus, the forum directed the DG and Commissioner Haryana State Transport to pay a compensation of Rs 1,000 to Prajapat for the inconvenience and harassment, and Rs 500 as cost of proceedings.
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