SETTING ASIDE the forum order, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed the Haryana Roadways to pay Rs 40,000 to a Ropar resident, as the roadways bus could not run due to strike of its employees.
Manjinder Singh Saini of Ropar had stated that he booked two Volvo bus tickets from Chandigarh to Delhi Airport through online e-ticketing service for October 19, 2018, by paying an amount of Rs 1,360 towards basic fair plus Rs 50 as reservation charges. The complainant and his wife had to catch their flight from Delhi Airport to Goa. However, when they reached the Chandigarh Bus Stand to board the bus at the scheduled date and time, he was shocked to know that the bus had been cancelled by the Haryana Roadways.
Left with no other alternative, Saini booked a private taxi from Chandigarh bus stand to the Delhi Airport by paying an amount of Rs 10,000 as taxi fair. Saini alleged that the Haryana Roadways did not intimate him qua cancellation of the bus well in time which is before October 19, 2018, as a result whereof, he suffered a lot of mental pain and agony. Saini’s complaint was dismissed by the forum, following which he filed appeal against the forum order at the State Commission on August 7, 2019.
The Haryana Roadways in reply had stated that the cancellation of bus was due to a strike of Haryana Roadways employees for the period from October 16, 2018, to November 2, 2018, and the employees’ union extended the strike continuously for 18 days and information regarding strike was being published in various newspapers regularly. It was stated that prior intimation regarding cancellation of buses could not be sent to the passengers, including the complainant, as the strike was sudden and beyond their control.
After hearing the arguments held during the course of arguments, counsel for the Haryana Roadways stated that prior intimation qua cancellation could not be given to the complainant as whole of the staff, whether administrative or technical, was on strike. “We are not going to accept such a vague argument. The opposite parties (Haryana Roadways) cannot take shelter for their deficiency in rendering service in not intimating as regards the cancellation under the garb of strike of drivers or conductors of buses.”
The commission stated that though there was a strike of conductors or drivers, the whole staff, including administrative staff of Haryana Roadways, could not be expected to go on strike by leaving the complainant in the lurch. Their own terms and conditions, as quoted above, make it mandatory and necessary to intimate as regards cancellation of bus/trip to the passenger through email/phone as soon as possible. However, the Haryana Roadways left the complainant in the lurch by not doing so. They tried to put off their responsibility and duty by saying that the circumstances were beyond their control.
Setting aside the forum order, the commission directed the Haryana Roadways to pay an amount of Rs 10,000 to Saini, with Rs 25,000 as compensation and Rs 5,000 as cost of litigation.
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