The “highly irresponsible” and “we are above law attitude” of some officials of the Delhi Government Transport Department has cost them dear. A consumer forum has come to the aid of an auto-rickshaw driver who was repeatedly denied fitness certificates by department officials and thus could not ply his vehicle for a year, by compensating him from the salaries of senior transport officials, including the Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners.

Acting on the complaint of auto-rickshaw driver Tilak Singh, the North-East District Consumer Forum on Wednesday directed the Delhi Government Chief Secretary to deduct Rs.70,000 from the salaries of Deputy Commissioner Mahinder Singh, Deputy Commissioner (Enforcement) Rajendra Kumar and Assistant Commissioner Meena Kumari in equal proportions.

The amount so deducted will be paid to the driver as financial loss for not being able to ply the auto for want of a fitness certificate, litigation expenses and towards mental pain and suffering.

A Bench comprising Forum’s president N.K. Goel and members Asha Kumar and Nishat Ahmad Alvi also directed Deputy Commissioner (Enforcement) to renew the fitness of the vehicle.

“We do not feel any hesitation in saying that the attitude of these officers was highly uncalled for, callous and indifferent. Had they really been sympathetic towards the complainant the position would have been handled then and there itself. However, their “we are above the law” attitude aggravated the situation and compelled the complainant to bear the financial loss and also suffer mental pain and agony,” Tilak Singh had in his complaint before the Forum said he had purchased one TSR in October 2011 and got a fitness certificate from the State Transport Authority on December 8, 2011. He said exactly after a year on December 8, 2012, he again took the vehicle for fitness but was told that two of his challans dated May 16, 2011, are pending and he should get them cleared to get a fitness certificate.

When Singh told them that he has already got them cleared, he was made to run away. He then took a letter of request to the Transport Commissioner who sent him to Meena Kumari, Assistant Commissioner, who in turn sent the said letter to Deputy Commissioner Mahinder who asked him to go and clear the pending challans.

The response to his RTI application before the District Judge Saket also disclosed that the he had cleared the challans by paying a fine of Rs.2,000. Thereafter, he sent a legal notice to the transport authority. Instead of receiving any reply, he started receiving threats on phone to settle the matter for Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000.

“A legal notice also did not invoke any response in the highly irresponsible officials. We have used the words “highly irresponsible officials of the OP” because the facts of this case are shouting these facts hoarsely,” the Forum said.

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