Punjab: Railway authorities told to pay Rs 22k to man harassed by delay in train arrival

The complainant, Sujinder Singh (64) of Amritsar, contended that he suffered from chest infection, breathing problem, cervical pain, sugar and low blood pressure.

The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission of Punjab has dismissed the appeal of northern railway authorities and directed them to pay Rs 22,000 to a senior citizen, who suffered harassment after the train got delayed for more than 10 hours.

The complainant, Sujinder Singh (64) of Amritsar, booked two online tickets for up and down journey from Amritsar to New Delhi for August 1, 2018, and arrival from New Delhi to Amritsar on August 3, 2018, and booked three-tier sleeper in Hira Kund Express from Amritsar to New Delhi and for return in Shan-E-Punjab from New Delhi to Amritsar.

Singh submitted that the departure of Hira Kund Express, which runs from Amritsar to Visakhapatnam, was at 11.45 pm. He said that he reached the railway station at 11 pm. However, about 11.30 pm, the railway authorities announced that the departure time of the train was changed to 1.30 am. The departure time of the train was further changed to 2.30 am. The train was again late, as it was to depart from Amritsar at 5 am.

Singh contended that he suffered from chest infection, breathing problem, cervical pain, sugar and low blood pressure. He had to move from one platform to the other with the help of two persons. The train then arrived at Amritsar railway station at 10.30 am. He said that he had to visit Delhi for medical check-up at AIIMS but the train reached New Delhi railway station at 1.15 pm, whereas the OPD remained open from 9 am to 1 pm. Due to the delayed arrival of train, he could not get any medical check-up. It amounted to deficiency in service on the part of the Railways. He was harassed and humiliated as well.

He moved the Consumer Commission of Amritsar against the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ferozepur, and station master, Northern Railway, Amritsar, which was allowed and the railway authorities concerned were directed to pay Rs 20,000 as compensation and Rs 2,000 as cost of litigation.

The Northern Railway authorities, DRM Ferozepur and Station  Master, Amritsar, in an appeal before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Punjab, argued that a proper announcement about delay in departure of the train was made but the circumstances were beyond control. It was submitted that waiting rooms were available at the railway station.

After hearing the matter, the Commission Bench of Justice Daya Chaudhary (president), Rajinder Kumar Goyal and Urvashi Agnihotri (members), held, “Spending money for purchase of tickets and to travel a long distance on two occasions is not only an expenditure, which has been incurred by the complainant but harassment suffered by him while waiting for coming/going of the train is also not disputed.”

The commission remarked, “As far as the stand taken by the appellants/opposite parties that waiting rooms are available at the railway station, the same does not appear to be convincing, as keeping in view the space of the waiting rooms vis-à-vis number of passengers, it is hardly believed that everyone who is waiting can get a place to sit.”

Thus, the commission dismissed the appeal filed by the northern railway authorities.

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