A Delhi consumer court has sent a clear message to the Railways that it will have to pay dearly for delaying refund of money to passengers against ticket cancellations.
Pulling up the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and Northern Railways for taking more than two years to process a refund request of a passenger - a judge in a subordinate court - and then "illegally" rejecting it, the court directed them to jointly pay a compensation of R50,000 to him.
Noting that "Railways, which set a time limit of a few hours for passengers to claim refund, has not laid any such limit for itself," a bench headed by judge CK Chaturvedi said and found IRCTC and Railways guilty of deficiency of service and causing mental agony, harassment and suffering to the complainant.
The forum asked the chairman of Railway Board to examine the rules and regulations governing time limit for claiming refund and processing it "so that consumers are not made to litigate for refund".
The forum also observed the Railways acted "penny wise and pound foolish" by spending public money to defend such cases in courts.