Supreme Court’s tough stance on railway delays
The Supreme Court has taken a tough stance on train delays. It said that the railways could not escape the responsibility of delaying trains. The court said the railways should be prepared to pay compensation in case of any passenger loss. If public transport is to compete with the private sector, it needs to improve its systems and operations. The court ordered the railways to pay Rs 30,000 to a passenger in a late case.
A bench of justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose said the railways could not relinquish responsibility for train delays. Passengers will have to pay compensation if the train fails to explain the reason for the delay, the bench said. The Supreme Court said passenger time is invaluable and someone should be held responsible for train delays. The court said, ‘The time for competition and responsibility has come. If public transport is to compete with the private sector, its system and working style must be improved. The people / migrants of the country cannot depend on the mercy of the government / administration. Someone has to take responsibility.
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What a case
This case is related to Sanjay Shukla. On June 11, 2016, he was traveling with his family on the Ajmer-Jammu Express. The train was scheduled to reach Jammu at 8.10 am but reached its destination at 12.30 pm. This caused the Shukla family to miss the flight. He was scheduled to fly from Jammu to Srinagar at 12 noon. The family had to travel by taxi from Jammu to Srinagar. He had to pay Rs 15,000 for this. Also, he had to pay Rs 10,000 to stay. The Consumer Forum of Alwar district ordered the North Western Railway to pay Rs 30,000 compensation to Shukla.
The state and national forums upheld the decision. Railways challenged this again in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court also upheld the decision of the district, state and national forums. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhatti said in her petition that the Railways has no obligation to compensate for train delays as per Rules 114 and 115 of the Railway Conference Association Coaching Tariff No. 26 Part-1 (Volume-1). But the court did not accept his argument.
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Compensation has to be paid first
Earlier, two passengers had reached Delhi with a delay of about five hours due to delay in Prayagraj Express. This caused him to miss his flight to Kochi. These passengers complained against the railways in the consumer forum and the forum fined the railways. The Railways then took the matter to the Supreme Court, the way of theft, even Sinajori. The Supreme Court had also ruled in favor of the passengers and struck down the railways. The court ordered the railways to pay Rs 40,000 as compensation to the passengers.
Provision of compensation in Tejas
The Tejas Express, the first private train in the country, has a provision to compensate passengers for train delays. There is a provision of Rs.100 per passenger if the train is 1 hour late and Rs.250 per train if the train is two hours or more late. Recently, the Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express was two days late. On this, the railway company IRCTC had decided to pay Rs 4.5 lakh as compensation to 2,035 passengers.
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