Oct 17, 2013

Railways to pay family harassed by crowd

NEW DELHI: Ever travelled on train and been harassed by unauthorized occupants who forcibly take up space in crowded compartments?

Holding the railways guilty of deficiency of service, a central district forum has awarded a family of four Rs 30,000, including litigation costs, after it faced physical inconvenience and mental agony on a journey from Amritsar to Delhi when a large crowd trespassed on the train and the ticket examiner was unable to get it to disembark.

Dev Kant, Satwinder Kaur, Harisharan Singh and Harleen Kaur had on October 20, 2009, travelled by Moori Express and reserved and confirmed their seats on sleeper coach S-7.

"At Ludhiana railway station, a big crowd intruded/trespassed into the compartment and captured the reserved seats and sleepers by force. They also sat on the floor of the compartment, thereby blocking all passages to the toilet. The TTE did not act on the request to call railway police personnel, who were supposed to be available in the running train or at the GRP post at the next station. The complainants remained disturbed and could not sleep nor use the toilet. They suffered physical inconvenience and mental agony," said the order.

The complainants sent a legal notice to the Railways and called upon it to pay a sum of Rs 60,000 each for deficiency in service and Rs 50,000 on account of mental agony, harassment and physical torture. Allowing the complaint, the forum held the Railways and its officials duty-bound to take steps to prevent entry of unauthorized persons in the reserved compartment.

While the Railways admitted the case of the complainant vide its reply, it stated that unauthorized persons were evacuated at Ambala station and that the matter was informed to the GRP. It denied any deficiency in service. The Railways claimed that the TTE was present in the coach and took prompt steps to get removed the unauthorized passengers.

The forum said the trespassers entered the reserved compartment of the train where complainants were travelling.

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