The inability of Indian Railways' to stop unauthorised crowd occupying reserved seats of a train has cost it a sum of Rs 30,000 as a compensation to a family which could not use washrooms for more than an hour an half as the passage to the toilet was blocked.
Dev Kant, who is the deputy legal advisor in the ministry of law and justice took the Indian Railways to the consumer court saying they had encountered mental and physical stress due to deficiency in service while travelling from Amrtisar to Delhi in 2009 with his wife and two children.
After seven years of protracted legal battle, the state consumer forum upheld the compensation of Rs 30,000 awarded to his family that was awarded by the district consumer court. The complainant told the court that a big crowd entered into the reserved compartments at Ludhiana Railway station by force and occupied all the vacant seats. Those who could not find a place to sit squatted on compartment's floor and blocked the passages towards the washrooms and the washbasin, the complainant said.
Harisharan Bagga said the crowd travelling without tickets did not let him use toilet for 90 minutes.
Speaking to Mail Today, Dev Kant's son Harisharan Bagga, who is also an advocate, said the crowd did not let him use the washroom for around 90 minutes. "The passage was jam packed and the crowd was uncooperative. Also, apart from my father my sister and my mother were also traveling with us and it was an uncomfortable situation for them as well," said Bagga.
"We brought it to the notice of the TTE and asked him to call the railway police but he did not bother and went away after expressing his inability to handle the situation," Bagga added. The counsel for the Northern Railways told court that the crowd was asked to vacate the train at the Ambala station and, therefore, had taken timely action.
It also said that the petition was a means to extort. The court, however, observed that it is the duty of the railway to allow only authorised persons to travel in trains which it failed to do. "All the unauthorised persons who boarded the train in the large number naturally caused discomfort, harassment and mental agony to the passengers who were traveling on the valid ticket to travel in the reserved coach and the railway officials failed to prevent the entry that amounts to the deficiency in the service on the part of the railway," said the order.