NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
REVISION PETITION NO. 167 OF 2002
(From the order dated 16.10.2001 in Appeal Nos.49/S.C./2001 & 454/2001
of the State Commission, Uttar Pradesh)
Union of India & Ors. . Petitioners
K.K. Shukla & Ors. Respondents
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE D.P. WADHWA,
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE J.K. MEHRA, MEMBER.
MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER.
MR. B.K. TAIMNI, MEMBER.
(i) Railways - train occupied by ticketless rallyist- senior citizens with
reserved tickets - not providing berths - deficiency in service
(ii) Railway Police - if duty to project bona fide passengers or to give
protection to rowdies and hooligans travelling without ticket, if dereliction in duty - question left open.
For the petitioner : Ms. Rekha Aggarwal, Advocate
Dated the 23rd January, 2002
PER JUSTICE D.P. WADHWA, (PRESIDENT).
Petitioners-opposite parties are aggrieved by the order of the State Commission which in turn upheld the order of the District Forum allowing the complaint of the Respondents-complainants and awarding compensation and cost on the ground of deficiency in service by the Northern Railway.
The four complainants are two couples - husband and wife of the age varying from 64-75 years. They had four reserved berths in coach No.7 of Doon Express for 17.10.1997 for travel from Lucknow to Haridwar from where they were to go to visit Badrinath Dham. They reached the railway station to board the train at the proper time. They found that their berths were occupied by unauthorised persons. Not only that they were thrown out of the coach by these occupants. Some of the complainants
also suffered injury. They were in extreme mental agony as for them it was important to perform the journey. Their complaint to the Incharge, thana GRP and Station Master fell on deaf years. In fact, the Station Master showed his helplessness and the police refused to intervene. Whole of the train was occupied by unauthorised persons who were also sitting on the roof top of the train and were going to attend Kissan Union Rally. They were all ticketless travellers. The case of the Railways before the District Forum was that it was difficult to get the berths vacated from the crowd as they might otherwise had become violent and damaged the Railways property. It was announced that refund of fares would be given to the passengers who were holding valid tickets.
The whole episode is a strange commentary on the working of the Railways and the Police. Four senior citizens holding reserved berths have been left high and dry. Protection had been given to miscreants and law breakers in preference to law abiding citizens. We give no credence to the pleas of the Railways that the whole situation had created a law and order problem. Their stand is totally indefensible. District Forum has rightly pointed out that steps should have been taken well in advance in not allowing the miscreants and law breakers to enter the railway platform at all as it could not be said that their storming the railway station was sudden and the railway staff was caught unaware. Railway staff would have certainly known in advance about the impending Kissan Rally and unauthorised persons gate crashing. It would not have been something new to them as there have been persistent complaints of unauthorised persons occupying the berths reserved for bona fide and genuine passengers. Not providing the
berths to the complainants when they were holding reserved tickets is a clear case of deficiency in service on the part of the Railways.
We are also unable to appreciate the reluctance of the Railway Police to act. It is not their duty to give protection to bona fide passengers? Or is it their duty to give protection to rowdies and hooligans travelling without ticket? If their duty is former it was certainly a case of dereliction of duty on their part. We, however, need not say anything further on this.
District forum awarded only Rs.5,000/- as compensation to the complainants and refund of Rs.525/- being the fare and Rs.1000/- as costs. The order of the District Forum as noted above has been upheld by the State Commission on appeal filed by the opposite party. However, appeal filed by the complainants for enhancement of the compensation was dismissed.
We do not find that there was any cause for the petitioners to file this revision petition and it is dismissed.
( RAJYALAKSHMI RAO)
( B.K. TAIMNI)