Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wake up call for the railways ?

Here is a story that will set the alarm bells ringing in the Indian Railways

From The Telegraph

A consumer court has awarded Rs 50,000 as compensation to a man harassed by unauthorised passengers who barged into his reserved coach while he was travelling with his family.

The court held the Indian Railways guilty of deficiency in service and directed it to pay a litigation cost of Rs 5,000 in addition to the compensation to Sunil Kumar Gupta, who is Tihar Jail’s law officer.

Gupta said he, his wife Poonam and their two children were forced to stay awake during their overnight journey from Delhi to Jammu three years ago.

“Such a situation speaks volumes about the working of the railways as extraneous considerations on the part of officials allow unauthorised passengers to occupy reserved seats,” said New Delhi district consumer forum president K.K. Chopra. He held the railways liable for “deficiency in service, mental agony and harassment”.

The railways argued he should have approached the travelling ticket examiner (TTE) or pulled the chain. “It is the duty of the TTE to come to the compartment to... ensure that passengers who paid sleeper charges are provided berths,” the forum said.

If every passenger decides to sue the Indian Railways for this, often seen, deficiency in service, and the courts decide to award the same compensation, I expect to see the Indian Railways becoming insolvent in a matter of weeks if not months.