Railway officials are duty bound to prevent entry of unauthorised persons in a reserved coach and their failure to do so amounts to deficiency in service, the Delhi state consumer commission has said. The state commission made the observation while awarding Rs 30,000 to a man and his family seeking compensation for inconvenience caused to them when they had to travel with unauthorised passengers in a reserved coach.
The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission asked Northern Railways to pay the amount to Delhi resident Dev Kant and his family after dismissing its appeal against the district forum’s verdict to compensate them.
“…the railway officials failed to prevent the entry of unauthorised persons in the reserved coach, that amounts deficiency in service on the part of Railways and due to which the complainant suffered mental agony and harassment,” the commission headed by Justice Veena Birbal said.
The commission also said that the Railways was duty bound to allow only authorised persons to travel in the train.
“…railway officials are duty bound to take necessary steps to prevent the entry of such unauthorised persons into the reserved compartment which they failed to do so.
“All the unauthorised persons who boarded the train in a large number naturally caused discomfort, harassment and mental agony to the passengers who were travelling on a valid ticket to travel in reserved coach…,” the commission said.
According to the complaint filed by Kant, he and his family travelled from Amritsar to Delhi in a reserved coach on Moori Express on October 20, 2009.
It was alleged that during the journey, a huge crowd intruded into the reserved coach at Ludhiana railway station and occupied the reserved seats by force and also sat on the floor of the coach blocking all passages, even to bathrooms.
The complaint also said that this was brought to the notice of the TTE who expressed inability to handle the crowd.
Kant and family requested the TTE to call the railway police but he did not bother and went away, it said. During proceedings before the district forum, the railway authorities had denied that any crowd had forced its way into the coach.
The state commission, however, took note of a submission of a railway official that the TTE had evicted the unauthorised persons from the coach, thereby admitting the presence of such passengers.