Published on : Thursday, November 23, 2017
In an interesting development the IRCTC has been docked Rs 25,000. Due to one wrong message from IRCTC to the passengers of Mahabodhi Express, the railway ticket booking service provider was sued by one of the passengers for deficiency in service and causing physical and financial harassment.
The passengers, who were set to board the Mahabodhi Express going from Allahabad to Delhi on May 29, received an SMS from IRCTC that said the train had been cancelled and the passengers should also cancel their tickets if they want a refund.
Later, it turned out that the message was sent by mistake and the train did depart for Delhi on that day.
Vijay Pratap Singh, whose son Akshat was also boarding the same train, decided to take the legal route after IRCTC allegedly did not respond to requests for a refund.
“After receiving the message to cancel the tickets from IRCTC , I cancelled both the tickets. However, as it was important for my son to return to Delhi for some work, I booked a cab for him as no other train was available for the same day,” Singh told Mail Today.
“But after my son reached Delhi, I was shocked to find that the train had not been cancelled and departed as per the schedule. I got the refund for just one ticket as the other one was booked on Tatkal. Although under such circumstances I was entitled to get the refund for that one as well,” Singh added.
Singh approached Delhi district consumer forum through advocate Sanjeev Nirwani, seeking refund for the cab fare and the ticket price as the IRCTC had not paid heed to his requests.
The forum directed IRCTC to pay Rs 25,000 to Singh as compensation for causing stress, harassment and financial hardship.
IRCTC moved Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission against the order, saying they were not served notice and the order by the district forum was passed in haste.
The matter was heard by Member Anil Srivastava and OP Gupta who upheld the judgement of the district forum on the grounds of deficiency in service.
The court observed, “Assuming that the SMS (by Railways) was sent inadvertently, another SMS could have been sent, recalling the earlier message and intimating that the train would leave from Allahabad at the appointed date and time, which was not done. This itself shows and proves the deficiency significantly.”
Counsel for the railway service provider told court that they are only agent of the Railways and direction, if any, is to be issued to the Railways for compliance and for taking steps for implementation of the order.
The court concluded that the argument that the corporation has nothing to do with the management of the Railways and the cancellation of train or otherwise and the refund of the tickets or otherwise are functions within the domain of the Railways, does not carry conviction.