Consumer court fines railways Rs 30,000
Gondia District Consumer Redressal Forum (Maharashtra) has imposed a penalty of Rs 20,000 and a cost of Rs 10,000 on Central Railway for deficiency in providing services as per its Citizens’ Charter. Lawyer Sudhir Rathod lodged a complaint as the railways failed to provide basic facilities like water and light in his compartment in Chhattisgarh Express.
Rathod had boarded the train from Habibganj station in Bhopal on 3 November 2011 with confirmed reservation. He discovered the coach lacked the basic amenities. He and his co-passengers who had boarded the train from earlier stations complained about the same. After the train reached Itarsi, he complained to the local train ticket examiner (TTE), who assured that water would be filled and lights repaired at Nagpur.
When nothing was done at Nagpur station, Rathod lodged a written complaint with the station master after reaching Gondia. After waiting for over a year, he filed an RTI query in which the railways admitted that due to staff shortage there was no TTE in six coaches that day. Rathod then approached the consumer forum, demanding compensation for mental torture and harassment caused due to absence of basic facilities.
A bench comprising chairman Atul Alashi and members Waman Choudhari and Varsha Patil ruled that lack of water, light and TTE came under the definition of ‘deficiency in service’. They also held that due to a TTE’s absence the passengers were prevented from registering a complaint.
While referring to the ‘Citizens’ Charter for Passenger Services of Indian Railways’, the forum made it clear that railways was committed to provide safe and dependable train services and also ensure adequate passenger amenities. Citing an earlier decision by New Delhi State Consumer Forum in the case of Northern Railway versus Prakash Chandra, the judges stated that railways should also provide lighting, fans, cushioned berths and water on board and TTEs should be made available to attend to complaints/ grievances.
Air India told to pay Rs 1 lakh to flyer for lost bag
A consumer forum in New Delhi has asked Air India to pay an NRI flyer a compensation of Rs 1 lakh in a lost baggage case. The amount will be divided equally between the consumer welfare fund and the complainant for mental agony, humiliation, inconveniences, loss of baggage due to negligence, physical discomfort and litigation expenses.
On 30 December 2010, the complainant had landed at the IGI airport and forgot one of his bags there. He went back to IGI the same day and approached the inquiry desk of Air India. CCTV footage showed that the bag was picked up by a loader working with Neha Aviation, a private agency under contract with the airline for loading and unloading services.
A police complaint was lodged the following day. Despite several rounds of correspondence and filing of RTIs, the bag could not be found. Air India tried to blame DIAL, responsible for general security and management of the airport.
Air India claimed that it was unable to carry out any probe as the loss was reported very late. Although the footage revealed that the staff kept the hand baggage in the baggage reclaim hall at IGI, Air India refused to accept the responsibility of the bag being left unattended at the terminal. Police had raided the house of the loader but failed to find any evidence, Air India said.
The court, however, said that while the custody of baggage was with the complainant when the bag was left at the airport, it had been proved that it ‘went back to the custody of Air India’. The allegation of Air India that matter was reported too late did not have any credence as the complainant approached Air India on the day of loss itself, said the order presided over by judge CK Chaturvedi.