Bengaluru: Pushed out of train, elderly couple wins Rs 37,000 | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Pushed out of a train by an unruly crowd despite possessing valid second-class tickets for travel to Bengaluru, an elderly couple approached a consumer forum in November 2019. Over a year on, the court has ordered railway authorities to refund their ticket money and airfare for the flight they were forced to take, and pay them Rs 11,000 as compensation.
On January 20, 2019, R Ramachandran and K Krupa, from Rajajinagar, arrived at Jabalpur railway station (Madhya Pradesh) to board Sanghamitra Express to Bengaluru. They had booked berths and were waiting for the train that arrived 90 minutes late. Much to their shock, all the secondclass compartments, including S11 in which they were scheduled to travel, were jampacked with hundreds of people. The front doors were locked from inside by the intruders who refused to open them citing heavy crowds.
Ramachandran and Krupa attempted to reach their reserved seats from the neighbouring compartment but were pushed out by passengers who were illegally travelling in the train. The couple approached the Jabalpur station superintendent only to be told that many youths travelling for a railway board examination in Bengaluru had entered the compartments and the authorities couldn’t do much.
Shocked by the reply and having witnessed the Railway Protection Force team and police personnel standing as mute spectators to the blatant violation, the dejected Bengaluru couple left the railway premises. They were forced to book flight tickets to Bengaluru for Rs 25,074.
After arriving in Bengaluru, Ramachandran and Krupa attempted to raise the issue with South Western Railway authorities, but in vain. They finally approached Bangalore Urban District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on November 27, 2019 with a complaint against the divisional railway officer of SWR and the station superintendent of Jabalpur, saying they failed to perform their duties and caused inconvenience to genuine passengers, mainly senior citizens.
The couple presented their case on their own, while an attorney appeared on behalf of SWR’s divisional railway officer but failed to file their version. The Jabalpur officer didn’t turn up despite being sent a court notice by post.
Rlys told to refund ticket money, pay airfare

At the end of the year-long proceedings, judges of the consumer court slammed the railway authorities for their careless behaviour and lack of responsibility in performing their daily duties in safeguarding the interest of passengers who had paid for the service. Holding the railways responsible for the elderly couple’s plight, the judges on November 30, 2020 ruled that the divisional railway officer and superintendent must jointly refund the couple Rs 870 towards their train tickets and Rs 25,074 towards the air travel they were forced to undertake due to the ordeal. The forum also ordered the railway authorities to pay the couple Rs 5,000 towards incidental expenses, Rs 5,000 as compensation and Rs 1,000 towards court expenses, all within six weeks from the court order.

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Sagar Biswas

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