Indian Railways has been asked by a consumer forum here to pay compensation of Rs 60,000 to a woman whose purse was stolen in 2009 during her journey from Secunderabad to Delhi on Andhra Pradesh Rajdhani Express.
The New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum referred to a 2004 order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) to hold the Railways responsible for compensating the woman for the loss.
"The evidence shows that it was Rajdhani Express having a reserve compartment in which the complainant was travelling and there was a coach attendant and in such circumstances missing of articles or goods of the passengers reflect on the
efficiency of the Railways Administration.
"Law is well settled by the NCDRC that where the theft occurred in a reserved compartment, railway is responsible for the same... In light of above, we hold it guilty of deficiency in service," the bench presided by C K Chaturvedi said while directing the Railways to pay Rs 40,000 towards theft of cash and jewellery and Rs 20,000 as compensation for harassment.
The bench also comprising its members S R Chaudhary and Asha Kumar reiterated its suggestion, given earlier in a different case to the Railway Board, to provide a locker in reserved compartments where passengers can deposit their valuables.
The order came on the plea of Delhi resident Archana Raj, who had lost her purse containing Rs 10,000 cash, a gold chain worth Rs 25,000, and other valuables while travelling by the train on August 14, 2009.
She had kept her purse under her pillow before going to sleep and when she woke up in the morning she found that it was missing, despite there being a coach attendant and incharge on duty, the woman had said in her complaint filed against the Railway Board chairman.
She alleged she had lodged a report at the very next station, then a FIR at Jhansi and had even informed senior officials of the railway board, but she got no relief.
The Railways was proceeded against ex-parte as no one had appeared on its behalf before the forum.