Several things could have gone wrong during Kailash Chand’s son’s wedding. But what he had not foreseen was the broken seats, haggling over the lack of a permit and a baraat (marriage party) not taken care of properly.
Two years after his son’s marriage, a District Consumer Forum has ruled in Chand’s favour, directing the bus owners pay for Rs 50,000 as compensation and also refund the extra payment of Rs 14,890 made by Chand.
The story dates back to August 2012, when the marriage party set off for Ganganagar in Rajasthan. Chand had made an advance payment for two air-conditioned buses, which were found to have broken seats. Enroute, the buses were stopped by RTO staff, who claimed that the buses didn’t have permits. After two hours of discussion, challans were issued and the buses allowed to go through.
However, the ordeal did not end their. A few hours later, the air conditioning in one of the buses stopped working. Further, Chand had to pay the band accompanying them overtime charges as they reached the venue six hours late. The ride back was equally fraught with disaster. After the ceremony, the driver refused to leave claiming that he was yet to receive the balance payment. The bride’s family had to intervene to settle the matter “much to the embarrassment of the groom’s family”.
Further, Chand had to pay for the diesel — a payment that was not part of the original deal — as well as Rs 15,000 extra to buy food for the passengers. To make matters worse, just a few hours before they reached their destination, five musclemen entered the bus and threatened Chand to pay the remaining amount. The party finally reached home 10 hours late.
Ruling in Chand’s favour, the forum observed, “The life, liberty and security of the baraatis were at stake, hence he paid Rs 18,000 under threat of those musclemen.” The private bus service owners denied the allegations, claiming that the baraatis had misbehaved with the RTO staff.
However, the forum said, “There is not even a shadow of doubt in our mind after going through all the evidence that complainant was harassed, blackmailed, and above all, defamed in front of his guests. During the return journey, when the bride’s relatives had to come and pressure the drivers to start the buses, the embarrassment of the groom’s father can only be imagined.”