Consumer forum: Railways’ duty to prevent intruders from entering reserved compartments

Failure to prevent the entry of unauthorised persons in reserved compartments amounts to dereliction of duty on part of the Railways, said a consumer forum. It has directed the Railways to pay a compensation of Rs.1 lakh to a couple whose jewellery was stolen onboard the Tamil Nadu Express in 2008.

“Railways is responsible for the safety of life and personal belongings of passengers. It cannot escape this liability and has a duty to prevent such incidents, which cause loss of personal belongings of the passengers and others,” New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum said on the complaint of a couple from Chennai, who was travelling to Delhi.

Compensation

A bench headed by president C.K. Chaturvedi and members S.R. Chaudhary and Ritu Garodia directed the Northern Railways to pay a compensation of Rs.1 lakh with 9 per cent interest and Rs.50,000 to complainants C. Sunder and his wife Meenakshi Sunder for harassment and deficiency in duty by the Railways, for not preventing unauthorised persons from entering the reserved compartment.

Entry of unreserved passengers

The Sunders had approached the forum with a complaint that they were travelling from Chennai to Delhi on January 15, 2008, on reserved seats. They said the train made an unscheduled halt at the Okhla railway station where six boys entered their compartment without any luggage and stole their jewellery worth Rs.2.12 lakh and de-boarded at the New Delhi Railway Station.

“People expect a modicum of reliable service which provides at least safety of person and property while travelling in reserved compartments,” the Forum said.

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