A consumer court in Chhattisgarh has held the Railways responsible for an embarrassing situation faced by a passenger on account of a faulty toilet door lock aboard the Samta Express.
The traveler, Gurudarshan Lamba, was travelling from Delhi to Durg (Chhattisgarh) in the A-1 coach of the superfast train when he had to use the toilet. Even after he had bolted the lavatory door that another passenger opened the door from outside.
“I was shocked to find that the door had opened despite my locking it. As it turned out, the latch on the door was defective,” Lamba said.
Lamba, lawyer, lodged a complaint with the railway authorities, he filed a case against them with the consumer forum – seeking compensation for the negligence that had caused him such mental agony.
The railway officials opposed Lamba’s plea, stating that he could have used any of the other three lavatories on the coach if this one suffered from a faulty door. “None of the passengers on the A-1 coach lodged a complaint. His contention is baseless,” their counsel countered. But Maitriya Mathur, judge of the Durg district consumer redressal forum, stood by Lamba.
Stating that the faulty lock may have put the passenger in a very awkward situation, the judge asked: “After charging such a heavy amount for reservations on the AC coach, shouldn’t the Railways facilitate secure and usable amenities for the passengers?”
The consumer court held the authorities of three different railway zones, that fall on the route of the Samta Express, accountable.
“A non- functional toilet door lock amounts to deficiency in service and gross misconduct leading to the mental distress of the passenger,” the forum pointed out, ordering the Railways to pay Lamba Rs 1.50 lakh as compensation and Rs 10,000 in litigation costs.