The railways web site describes a ride on the Rajdhani Express as “a unique opportunity of experiencing Indian Railways at its best”. But a ride on it turned out to be a nightmare for a passenger. The railways have now been ordered to return the Rs 1,715 he paid for his ticket, and throw in a compensation of Rs 20,000.
Raj Kumar Singh of Palam took the Rajdhani to Bhubaneswar in July 2001. He had a lower berth in a 3AC coach, but he couldn’t sit because the middle berth had a faulty lock, and wouldn’t stay up.
The roofs were leaking, the toilets were stinking, the water smelt foul, and the washbasins were filthy.
Other passengers suffered too, but Singh was unwilling to take it lying down. He dragged the railways to court, and on Saturday, seven years later, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission ruled in his favour.
Commission president Justice JD Kapoor said the railways should “consider themselves lucky” that so few passengers actually took them to court for their terrible services.
The railways argued they did their best to ensure passengers’ comfort. But the forum said: “If there had been no problem the passenger would not have taken the pains, incurred the expenses, and waited for years to get his grievance redressed.”