An inordinate delay in providing a bus to ferry members of a wedding party to a marriage function cost the Himachal Road Transport Corp (HRTC) dear. Holding it liable for the delay, the Mandi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on January 17 ordered the state-owned bus company to pay Rs 17,625, including Rs 3,000 as litigation costs, as compensation to the bridegroom's father for causing harassment, along with interest at the rate of 5% per annum from the date on which the complaint was lodged.
In his complaint filed with the forum on May 31,2013, Ramesh Sharma, a resident of Batoh village in Mandi district, had stated he had booked an HRTC bus to take the 'barat' (wedding party) to attend the marriage of his son, Naveen Kumar Sharma, that was due to be solemnized in Rewalsar on May 6, 2013. He added he had even paid the charges (Rs 4,625) in full.
“Though the bus was supposed to arrive in the groom's village at 3 pm it did not turn up at the designated time. I called up the HRTC office in Sarkaghat but was told it would take some more time to arrange the bus and dispatch it. However, the bus did not arrive even by 3:30 pm. I was left with no option but to hire taxies to transport the wedding party for which I paid Rs 12,000. Because the bus didn't turn up some of my relatives couldn't attend the wedding”, Sharma added.
The forum maintained HRTC was guilty of deficiency in services on the part of the opposite parties. However, the respondent pleaded the delay was caused by a roadblock after a truck broke down on the road and the bus eventually arrived in Batoh village at 3:45 pm.