Man compensated for missing train by consumer court

September 9th, 2008 - 11:56 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) Imagine reaching late for your own engagement ceremony! And, that too, through no fault of your own. It happened to Shriman Asthana, but instead of taking things lying down, he approached the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and got compensated by Indian Railways for his woes.Asthana and Vijayalakshmi Ramasubramanian were supposed to get engaged Oct 9, 2005, in Mumbai. They booked their tickets in the August Kranti Rajdhani train from Delhi and were to leave the day before so that they reached their destination on the D-day.

However, a rude shock awaited them at the railway platform.

When Asthana and his partner reached the platform, a good 40 minutes before the scheduled departure of the train at 4.55 p.m, they realised that the coach, AS-8, in which their seats were booked, was missing!

Repeated pleas to the train superintendent to make some alternative arrangements, since they had to reach Mumbai urgently, fell on deaf ears.

Seeking help from the station master to put them in any other compartment, along with the rest of the 40-50 passengers who had met a similar fate, also proved to be of no help.

Hapless, with not even a refund of their train tickets, Asthana then rushed to buy two air tickets instead and took a flight to their destination.

Later Asthana moved the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and claimed a compensation of Rs.2,970 as refund of the price of the train tickets, a refund of the air tickets and another Rs.100,000 for the mental agony caused.

In his complaint, Asthana alleged that neither the train superintendent nor the station master made any alternative arrangements for them to travel to Mumbai and didn’t even refund their tickets - and all that for no fault of theirs.

In their response, the railway officials said that the coach in which Asthana and the others’ tickets were booked was cancelled because of a mechanical defect and that efforts were made to accommodate the passengers in other coaches of the same train as well as in another train.

S.K. Tandon, president of the commission, in the decision said that since the railway officials failed to prove that alternative arrangements were being made for the passengers, it showed the deficiency of their services.

“After coming to know that there was a mechanical defect in the coach number AS-8, it was the duty of the respondent (railways) to make arrangements of another coach so that complainants and other passengers could reach their destination on time,” the commission said.

In compensation, the commission asked the railways July 21 this year to pay Rs.2,380 to Asthana and his partner - the amount that they spend in buying the air tickets from Delhi to Mumbai. Also, a sum of Rs. 20,000 was asked to be paid for all the harassment caused.

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