Indian Railways has been asked by the apex consumer commission to pay Rs 2.01 lakh compensation to a lady doctor whose luggage was stolen while travelling by the UP Kushinagar Express in 1996.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) held the Railways liable to compensate the woman for theft of her luggage, saying there was failure on the part of the ticket checker to ensure that no intruders entered the reserved coach she and her daughter were travelling in.
"Undisputedly, the complainant (doctor) and her daughter were travelling in a reserved coach and it was the duty of the TTE (ticket checker) to ensure that no intruders entered the reserved compartment.
"Since apparently there was a failure on the part of the TTE to prevent entry of unauthorised person in the coach during the night, the fora below were right in holding the petitioner liable for deficiency in service to the respondent (doctor) in this regard," a bench presided by justice Ajit Bharihoke said.
The NCDRC's order came while dismissing the Railways' appeal against the orders of the Uttar Pradesh State Consumer Commission and the District Forum which had held the state run enterprise responsible to compensate the complainant, Dr Shobha Agarwal.
In their appeal, the Railway's had contended that there was no negligence on their part and unless the goods were booked with them, they are not liable to pay the compensation.
It had claimed that the doctor was responsible for taking care of her luggage.
Rejecting the contention of the Railways, the NCDRC said no interference is required in the orders of the state consumer commission and the district forum.
The district forum had directed Railways to pay Agarwal Rs 2.01 lakh as compensation, while the UP state commission had dismissed its appeal against that order.