First Appeal No. 39 of 2011. Case: N.F. Railway Vs Lokendra Prasad Deka and Ors.. Assam State Consumer Forum SCDRC Cases

Court:Assam State Consumer Forum SCDRC Cases
Issue:Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) - Order I Rule 10(2); Consumer Protection Act, 1986 - Sections 14, 14(1)(d), 14(d), 14(e), 18, 22(1); Railways Act, 1989 - Section 124A
Counsel:For Appellant: B. Devi, Advocate and For Respondents: O.M. Maheshree, Advocate
Judgement Date:November 27, 2015
Party Name:N.F. Railway Vs Lokendra Prasad Deka and Ors.
Case Number:First Appeal No. 39 of 2011
Citation:I (2016) CPJ 1 (Assam)
Judges:Anima Hazarika, J. (President) and Dr. Shamim Akhtar, Member
 
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Order:

Anima Hazarika, J. (President)

  1. This appeal is directed against the judgment and order dated 7.7.2011 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum ("District Forum", in short), Kamrup at Guwahati, in C.C. Case No. 101/2009 whereby and whereunder, the District Forum while allowing the complaint case, granted the following reliefs in favour of the complainant--

    "(a) The opposite parties shall pay an amount of Rs. 20,000 (Rupees twenty thousand) towards compensation to each of the complainants for the mental agony and harassment suffered by them due to deficiency in service on the part of the OPs.

    (b) The Opposite Parties shall also pay an amount of Rs. 5,000 to the complainant towards cost of this case.

    (c) The Opposite Parties shall pay the above amount within 45 (Forty five) days from the date of receipt of the copy of this judgment failing which the entire amount shall carry interest at the rate of 8 (eight) percent per annum from the date of this judgment till realization of the same."

    The facts as alleged by the complainant/respondents in the complaint are that, the respondent No. 1 who is a senior citizen and retired veterinary surgeon, travelled by A/C 2 tier coach No. A-1 of Train No. 0201 UP Yesvantpur-Guwahati Express originating from Bangaluru to Guwahati on the South Western Railway under P.N.R. No. 4520408748 along with his cousin, aged about 43 years, having their allotted seat Nos. 30 and 42 on 22.6.2009. It has been alleged by the respondents/complainants that during the said journey, they were provided with dirty linens, the food supplied on payment was not up to the standard and also the supplier refused to issue cash memos and while they asked for the complaint book, the attendant present in the train too refused to produce the same on request. It has been further alleged that the co-passengers who were regular travellers on the route advised them to keep silent otherwise the coterie of people against whom they wanted to complain might physically harm them. The respondents then remained silent and immediately after reaching Guwahati on 25.6.2009, the respondent No. 1 wrote a letter to the OP No. 2 very next day, narrating his experience in details and calling upon him to investigate into the whole matter and to inform the complainant No. 1 the action taken, if any.

  2. After waiting for some time, when he did not hear anything from the appellant, the respondent No. 1 (complainant No. 1) even wrote a letter to the Editor of a widely circulated English daily newspaper namely "The Assam Tribune" in its issue dated 31.7.2009 alleging therein that throughout their journey by train from Bangaluru to. Guwahati, the services provided to them by the Railway Administration were of poor quality for which they had to suffer harassment and mental agony.

  3. When after waiting for some more time, the respondent No. 1 found that the complaint sent by him to the OP No. 2 did not evoke any response, he finally filed the complaint case before the learned District Forum, Kamrup, claiming compensation and other relief(s) as mentioned in the complaint case.

  4. After receipt of notice from the District Forum, the appellants/opposite Parties contested the case by filing written statement denying the allegations made by the complainants. It has been contended that linens are supplied by the contractors and if the supply of dirty linens are reported, the contractors are suitably taken up by the Railway Administration; that similar is the case with regard to supply of food, inasmuch as, Pantry Cars of the trains are run by Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation (IRCTC for short) through their licensed contractors and if any lapse in respect of supply of food is reported, the matter is referred to IRCTC authority for taking suitable action against their contractors. Further, any lapse on the part of the attendants of A/C Coaches is reported to concerned authority for taking suitable action. Their further case is that no complaint whatsoever, in this regard was submitted by any other person before the Railway Authority complaining about supply of dirty linens or poor quality of food etc. or any other deficiency of service on the part of the Railway Administration except the complainants.

  5. On the other hand, during the pendency of the complaint case, the appellant herein filed a petition being No. 1205 raising preliminary objection to the effect that the District Forum has no territorial jurisdiction to entertain the complaint as the cause of action arose in the South Western Railways (opposite party No. 2) Moreover, as the complaint case has been filed against the Railway Administration, the matter could only be entertained by Railway Claims Tribunal under the provisions of Railways Claims Tribunal Act, 1987. The opposite party Nos. 1 and 4 also filed a separate petition being No. 1206 praying therein for striking out or deleting their names on the ground that opposite party No. 1 has certain limited powers over the entire system of Indian Railways, moreover, cause of action arose under the jurisdiction of opposite party No. 2 and not opposite party No. 4 and thus, they have wrongly been impleaded as party in the case.

  6. The learned...

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