In a significant order, the Supreme Court has said that every passenger’s time is “precious” and the Railways is liable to pay the compensation for “delay and late arrival of trains’ unless it proves that the delay was due to the reasons beyond their control.
A bench of Justices M R Shah and Aniruddha Bose refused to allow the appeal of Northern Western Railway against the verdict of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).
The top consumer panel had confirmed the order of compensation passed by the consumer courts below allowing the complaint of one Sanjay Shukla who along with three others missed the connecting flight to Srinagar in 2016 as the train reached four hours behind the scheduled arrival at Jammu Tawi station. They had boarded the train at Alwar in Rajasthan.
Besides losing the expenses incurred in booking flight tickets, the complainant and others had to take taxi for travelling to Srinagar from Jammu.
The top court upheld the verdict of the NCDRC which had directing the Northern Western Railway to pay ₹ 15,000 for taxi expenses, Rs.10,000 towards booking expenses along with ₹ 5,000 each towards mental agony and litigation expenses.
It did not agree to the contention that late running of train cannot be said to be deficiency in service on Railways’ part and certain rules said that there shall not be any liability to pay compensation for late running of train as there may be number of reasons for such delayed running of trains.