Citizens' Issues
Suburban rail passengers spared from steep hike

Season ticket or pass holders will now have to pay the amount equal to 15 trips for travelling unlimited times during a month on the suburban rail network. Both first and second class passengers, however, will have to pay the 14.2% increase in fares for the monthly pass

Paying heed to all the vocal protests across the country, especially from Mumbai, the Indian Railways decided to rollback the 100% to 153% hike in monthly season tickets (MSTs). Suburban rail travellers from both the first and second class, however, will have to pay the 14.2% increased fare. Moneylife Foundation, the Samir Zaveri Railway Helpline and the Coalition for Safe Rail Travel also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to roll back the highly unreasonable hike in suburban train fares and season tickets (monthly pass).

The Railways also announced that the recent hike of 14.2% in passenger fares will not apply to second class suburban journeys up to 80 kms, a decision that will give relief to lakhs of travellers mainly in metro cities.

In a revised order, the Railways also said that the fare hike in the unreserved segment shall come into force from 28th June as against 25th June, when the increase was to be originally implemented.

Railways also gave some relief to monthly pass holders by reverting to charging equal to 15 trips per month, instead of 30, which lets the commuters travel unlimited number of times in a month.

These steps will benefit about 1.24 lakh daily suburban commuters across the country. There are over 75 lakh daily passengers on the Mumbai suburban rail network alone.

The revision to the 20th June notification came hours after the members of Parliament (MPs) from ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) belonging to Maharashtra met Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda and demanded a rollback in the hike.

The cash-strapped Indian railways had announced on 20th June that an increase of 14.2% in passenger fares and 6.5% in freight rates, just three weeks before the presentation of the Rail Budget. The revised rates will come into effect from Wednesday.

"There shall be no increase in second class suburban ordinary fare upto 80 kms," said a Railway notification issued today.

This will give relief to lakhs of people travelling daily in metros like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi.

Here are the revised final fares for second class monthly season ticket...


The story of Ms Molly, student-litigant-victor

Act fast to get your marks re-evaluated. Court orders have been sympathetic to students

We tell you the story of one Ms Molly, a young girl from Kerala and of her Kerala University. It is one of those vagaries of fortune, rather misfortune, that descend on someone totally unversed with such adversities. Ms Molly was just a student. And she had to take on the might of the institution where she studied.

Some time back,

Ms Molly had a setback. She lived in Kerala, amongst the country’s the most educated citizenry. If the saying that higher the level of education, the greater the recourse to courts of justice, is true,
Ms Molly lived up to it. She took on the bastion of education, her own university. But why?

Ms Molly was a young, aspiring girl. She went to college and studied hard. She took her exams. But did not get the marks she expected. Now, Ms Molly was an angry little girl. The University had failed her, not by way of the marks it had given her, but by dishonouring her commitment.

The University had a system of revaluation. It allowed the students to ask for their papers to be corrected once again in the hope of getting better marks. Now, there is often a problem with corrections. Not the correction itself but the noting down of marks in the aggregation column. Some marks get missed, or are not written by the evaluator. Or, just incorrectly totalled. It is what we call ‘human error’. And just as in court where no litigant can suffer because of a fault of the court, no student can suffer for the mistake of the institution of education.

Ms Molly filed an appeal. She asked for revaluation of her marks. She had high hopes and other exams to take. The next one was not far away. To facilitate such a student, the University had originally set a time limit of a maximum of 45-days to announce the revaluation results.

In an earlier case, the University had taken a year, from April 1984 to June 1985, to announce the revaluation results. The court had held that was incorrect, especially since the 45-day limit had been substantially breached and the student, one Ms Pai, had also missed the September exam. So what had the University done to remedy the situation? Hard to believe, but it simply got rid of the 45-day rule! Now, what was Ms Molly to do?

You be the judge.

Ms Molly went to court. The court appointed an amicus curiae, i.e., a friend of the court. He was advocate V Chidambaresh. With his help, the court came to a decision. It favoured
Ms Molly, 45-day rule or not. It rightly held that the preceding case was a good harbinger and had to be followed. Revaluation must be fast. Fast enough to allow the student to appear for the next exam, whatever it may be. The student had lost a year. The student had to be compensated. She was awarded Rs10,000/-.

This holds a lesson for Moneylife readers. Act fast and apply for revaluation. But understand that a revaluation can also mean lesser marks. There might have been an error, whereby the student may have been awarded higher marks initially. There is also the possibility of a failure, following the revaluation.

Can cut both ways.

[An interesting aside is a recent case where a litigant was awarded an interim (in between) monetary relief. Well-wishers egged him on to appeal the order, asking for 10 times as much. We advised him to confirm with his solicitor if the appeal could result in a reversal, either total or partial. After a lot of discussion, the man realised that he was treading on thin ice. Thankfully, he backed out. And saved a few lakh rupees, too.]

Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to [email protected] or [email protected]



MCA proposes relaxing Companies Act provisions for private companies

The MCA has proposed as many as 13 relaxations for private companies, from various provisions of the Companies Act, including acceptance of public deposits, share capital, voting rights, further issuance of shares, appointment of auditor and directors, among others

To ease the regulatory burden for private companies including smaller firms, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) on Tuesday proposed relaxing certain provisions of the new Companies Act for such entities.


The proposed relaxations include certain provisions relating to prohibition on acceptance of public deposits, share capital, voting rights, further issuance of shares, appointment of auditor and director, restriction on board powers, loans to directors, related party transactions, as also appointment of top management personnel.


Through a draft notification, the MCA has proposed as many as 13 relaxations for private companies from the various provisions of the Companies Act which came into effect at the beginning of the current fiscal.


While the draft notification would be placed before each house of the Parliament, suggestions and comments are invited from the public till 1st July, the Ministry said in a circular.


The statistics from MCA for 2011, put the number of companies registered in India at 11.63 lakh. About 24,682 or 2.12% out of these have paid up capital between Rs2-Rs5 crore and 23,589 or 2.02% have capital exceeding Rs5 crore, leaving a whopping 95.84% of the companies with capital below Rs5 crore or $1 million; this is far below global standards. In India, stock exchange listed companies constitute only a miniscule 0.6% of the total, leaving 99.4% to be individuals or private companies running businesses essentially with their own capital or borrowings.


Among various proposals, it has been proposed that a private company be exempted from having a share capital of either equity share capital or preference share capital.


The other exemption includes the requirement of every shareholder of a company being given a right to vote on every resolution placed before the company, and this voting right being in proportion to the shareholding.


With regard to further issue of share capital by a private company, it has been proposed that any such offer would need to be made through a notice during a time period 'not less than seven days and not exceeding 15 days'. The existing provision has a similar time period of not less than 15 days and not more than 30 days.


With regard to issue of shares to employees under an ESOP plan, it has been proposed that the same can be done through a 'special resolution' in case of private companies, as against a special resolution for others.


It has also been proposed that certain rules on 'prohibition of acceptance of deposits from public' would not be applicable to small private companies.


Such companies would include those, "having 50 or lesser members if they accept monies from their members not exceeding 25% of the aggregate paid up capital and free reserves of 100% of the paid up capital, whichever is more, and which inform the details of such monies to the Registrar in the prescribed manner".


Also, the provisions for meeting of shareholders with regard to notice, statement to be annexed with such a notice, quorum, appointment of chairman, proxies, voting restriction, voting by show of hands and demand for poll would not apply to a private company if its 'article of association' provides otherwise.


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