If the travelling ticket examiner (TTE) is missing from the train coach, it is to be construed as deficiency in service as per the Gondia District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, which has imposed a penalty of Rs30,000 on Indian Railways.
The bench of president Bhaskar Yogi and member Sarita Raipure directed divisional railway managers (DRMs) of Central Railway’s Pune and Bhusawal divisions to recover the amount from the salaries of the erring officers for dereliction of duty and loss caused the Railways. They have also been directed to conduct an internal inquiry before acting against the officials.
Gondia-based 64-year-old lawyer Sudhir Rathod, who filed the case, submitted documents received by him under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The rules mentioned that there must be one TTE for every three sleeper coaches as per the Railway Board guidelines.
Mr Rathod and his wife had booked tickets from Pune to Nagpur in Azad Hind Express on 30 October 2017, in sleeper class. As there was no TTE, many unauthorised passengers encroached in their S-1 coach and even argued with the senior citizens.
The couple faced difficulty while utilising toilets due to obstruction caused by the illegal passengers, who occupied the floors, as the train was fully packed.
Mr Rathod lodged a complaint with the consumer forum against the DRM saying that they faced mental and physical harassment due to the unauthorised passengers in the absence of the TTE in the bogie. He claimed that it is a “shortcoming” and “deficiency in service” by the Railways despite charging full ticket tariff.
The railways denied these charges but admitted that S-1 bogie was unmanned, as TTE was absent on that day, for the entire journey from Pune to Nagpur.
The judges quoted the citizens’ charter and stated that basic facilities like booking arrangements, waiting hall, benches, lighting, drinking water, and platform, urinals should be made available at all stations.
They added that in trains, lighting and fans, cushioned beds, toilets, reservation charts and and destination board should be provided along with TTE for attending to complaints.
Mr Rathod pointed out duties of TTE in sleeper class, which mention verification of passengers inside the coach and guiding them to berths or seats. They will prevent unauthorised people from travelling and pay prompt attention to all passenger grievances including non-functioning of lights and taking remedial measures to get them rectified. The TTE is also supposed to take care of passengers’ amenities and cleanliness of the bogies.
“We have no hesitation to conclude that the lawyer’s complaint’s is true and genuine. Without any rebuttal of his claims by the opponents, his contentions seem to be truthful and is supported by a written complaint at the Gondia railway station. There is no reply or investigation done by the railway authorities regarding dereliction of duties towards the general public,” the two-judge bench ruled while passing the penal order against the railways.