Hyderabad: The district consumer dispute redressal commission asked South Central Railways (SCR) to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to a passenger for the Rs 14 lakh of jewelry and Rs 3 lakh of her garments which were stolen while she was traveling on the train.
The Commission was addressing a complaint filed by Sheetal Kulkarni wherein she stated that in August 2017 she was traveling along with her mother-in-law in the Yesvanthpur express to attend her sister-in-law’s engagement.
However, on arriving at the destination, she found the jewelry missing from her luggage. The complainant argued that since the South Central Railway (SCR) makes money from the extra charges for the reservation of seats, it is reasonable to expect them to provide safety to the passengers.
On their end, the SCR denied her claims and stated that her contention did not come under consumer laws and hence she couldn’t hold the Railways responsible. They argued that the SCR can only be liable under Section 100 of the Railways Act of 1989 and the section deals with administration and not loss of property.
However, the commission ruled that as a passenger of the railways, the complainant is a consumer and thus her argument holds under consumer laws. The commission cited judgments of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission as well as the Supreme Court.
The commission then argued that despite the passenger’s suspicions on three of the by standers, the SCR had not filed records of officials who were on duty the day of the crime and hadn’t taken statements from the ticket examiner or the coach attendants. Their negligence of allowing unauthorized persons into the coach which distracted the complainant resulted in the theft and as such, the Commission held that they were liable to pay compensation and also imposed additional costs of Rs 5,000 on the SCR.