Holding that a passenger was a "consumer" within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act, the apex consumer court has ruled that the Railways will have to compensate a ticket holder for any injury caused to him due to poor upkeep and negligence of platforms.
"In our view, a railway passenger, who purchases a ticket for travelling, would undoubtedly be a consumer because he pays for availing the services to be rendered by Railways and would have a right to ingress to the train and egress from it," the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission said.
The commission, headed by Jusice MB Shah, said: "It is the duty of the Railways to maintain platforms in good order, footpaths and overbridges for ingress and egress of passengers and all other passenger facilities and amenities."
It said the Railways would be held guilty of "deficiency in service" if a passenger is injured due to lapses in maintaining its facilities. "The services, which are required to be rendered by Railways would include maintenance of railway stations, platforms as well as over bridges," it added.
Allowing an appeal filed by one Vinaya Vilas Sawant against a Maharashtra State Consumer Commission order rejecting her plea, the National Consumer Commission fixed January 29 to hear the Railways on the quantum of compensation.
Sawant, a resident of Mumbai, had claimed compensation after her husband died due to the collapse of a railway overbridge at Jogeshwari station on September 28, 1992 which also rendered her disabled.