Ruling that failure to provide proper security to passengers during journey amounts to deficiency in service, the Supreme Court has ordered the railways to compensate a couple who lost their luggage in a train dacoity in 1999.
A bench of justices BN Aggarwal and GS Singhvi dismissed the appeal of the Centre against an order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission that had awarded Rs 50,000 to Patna resident Alok Kumar.
In October 1999, Kumar and his wife were traveling in the first class compartment of Sanghmitra Express. At Ara, five men entered the compartment and robbed them at gun-point.
The bench took a dig at the government counsel who said incidents like dacoity were law and order problems, which was the state’s responsibility. “What a fantastic explanation?” the judges said, adding: “You are bound to deploy armed personnel in the trains. Attendants are supposed to ensure the doors are locked as soon as the passengers board the train. But your attendants are busy earning money and sleeping in the pantry car.”