This article is written by – Himanshu Shukla, Student, IP University, Delhi
The Supreme Court issued a notice dated [6th of August 2021] on a plea filed by the Central government against the order granting compensation for trains running late against its scheduled time by the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC).
A notice was issued in the Bench of Ravindra Bhat and Justice KM Joseph to the Central government on the condition that the authority would pay INR 25,000/- with the Court registry in a nationalized bank (fixed deposit) within four weeks.
“Issue notice subject to the petitioners depositing Rs. 25,000 with the Registry within four weeks of today.” In the order, the court stated.
However, the bench repealed the execution of the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) order.
Background of Case
On April 12, 2008, the respondents (Ramesh Chandra and others) boarded the Prayagraj Express to New Delhi. The train was scheduled to reach Delhi station at 6:50 in the morning but it reached the destination with a delay of 4 hours and 40 minutes [11: 30 am]. Due to an unexpected delay, the respondents missed their flight to Kochi.
Later, the respondents dragged the issue to the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission and claimed compensation of 19 lakhs rupees for harassment of mental state and misery due to the delay.
The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission directed the Railways to compensate the amount of Rs.40,000 to the respondent(Ramesh Chandra and others).
The railways, saddened with the order, filed an appeal in State and later in National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission but the plea was dismissed by the respective authorities.
The claim was dismissed by(NCDRC)National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission stating that the railway authorities could have estimated the delay and communicated the same information to the passengers including the respondent. Then the Railway filed the appeal in the Supreme Court against the order.
It stated that the NCDRC dismissed the argument of the railway without considering rule 115 of the Indian Railway Conference Coaching Rate Tariff Number 26 Part 1:- it states that the Railway Administration does not guarantee the arrival and departure of trains as per schedules shown in the timetable. Also, the delay was unexpected and beyond my control.
However, the Supreme Court agreed to review the plea but not to stay the order.