|Redressal Commission also orders repayment of extra fare collected|
CHENNAI: The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed the Southern Railway to pay a compensation of Rs.2,000 to a passenger for causing him tension and mental agony. It ordered the railways to repay the difference in fare collected for providing alternative accommodation to the passenger who had a confirmed reservation ticket.
N.D. Chandramouli, of Venus Colony, complained to the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (North), that he had booked two first class confirmed tickets by the Madurai Mahal in April 1998 for himself and his wife to Kodai Road. But they did not find their names in the first class list.
The TTE informed them that their names were in a two-tier A/C compartment list. He told the official about his wife's ill health and that he had just enough money to reach Kodaikanal by taxi. The TTE promised to do something at Chengalpattu. But, the official asked him to pay the excess fare. If he failed to do so, he would have to get down.
Mr. Chandramouli paid the excess fare under protest. The couple reached Kodaikanal by taxi with his friend's help. He cited the General Manager, Southern Railway, as the differing party.
The railways submitted that the first class coach attached to the train developed a serious snag. As there was no alternative coach, all confirmed passengers were given accommodation in the sleeper class. In view of the age of the complainant and his wife, the railways provided them accommodation in an air-conditioned two-tier coach.
The complainant preferred to travel in the air-conditioned coach by paying the difference in fare. The district forum had dismissed the complaint and the complainant preferred appeal against this.
Allowing the appeal, the Commission Bench, comprising President Justice K. Sampath and Member Pon. Gunasekaran, said the TTE ought to have provided comfortable alternative accommodation without the complainant having to pay extra when the passengers had confirmed accommodation and the railways was not in a position to provide the same. There was a plea relating to Rule 306 of the Tariff Manual issued by the railways. But, in the reply notice the railways had merely said "due to unavoidable circumstances" which could mean anything, the Bench said.
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