5 Aug 2008, 0634 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: A consumer court has asked the Western Railway to pay Rs 6000 to a commuter for issuing journey ticket for wrong date and not cancelling the same. The court held that verification of details in ticket is primarily the railway staffers' responsibility.
As per case details, Kailash Malviya got two tickets booked from the Vastrapur Reservation Counter on July 9 last year. He sought reservation for certain routes in Madhya Pradesh for July 17, but the booking clerk issued one ticket bearing the same date, while the other was for journey on July 12.
This blunder came to his notice when Malviya went for cancellation of both the tickets on July 14 due to change in his schedule. On counter, he found the same clerk that had issued him tickets. The clerk had cancelled one ticket, but refused to reimburse for the another saying that cancellation of a two day old ticket could not be done.
After getting into quarrels with the booking clerk and his supervisor, Malviya approached the higher authorities but nothing happened. Ultimately, he approached the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ahmedabad (rural) and complained about the mistake by the railway department and claimed compensation. The railway officials, on the other hand, claimed that it is clearly mentioned on requisition form also that the passengers should verify the details of ticket, but Malviya did not care to do so and blaming the railway staff for his mistake.
After hearing both the sides, member of the Forum, Jyotiben Jani concluded that it was the deficiency of service on part of railway authority, because despite mention of one date in requisition form, the booking clerk issued ticket of altogether different date. Hence, the Western Railway has been asked to pay Rs 400 as refund to ticket, besides Rs 600 for conveyance charges and Rs 5000 towards compensation for causing mental harassment to Malviya.
Also read the following comments about this ruling:
Till some time back, the various Government run PSU’s and other departments always felt that they were not providing a service that could be challenged in court; that options such as consumer laws were only possible to be implemented if people had taken a service from a private company. It was only when they started getting castigated and losing cases in consumer forums and courts did the Government undertakings realize that they were also subject to the same laws and conditions as anybody else. And of course, as the economy opened up, and there was increased competition, this competition also drove the Government run departments to either shape up or lose out. The Railways has opened up somewhat and improved, but still there needs to be more improvement, as can be seen from this case.
Overall this a good sign. Imagine the problem that would have been caused had the ticket not be cancelled, and been attempted to be used on the actual date of the journey. This would have revealed that the ticket was for a different date, and the person would have been left in a lurch, unable to make the journey.