The Maharashtra Consumer Redressal Commission has observed that if luggage is not handed over to railway administration against a proper receipt, the Railways will not be responsible in case of any theft or loss.
The commission was hearing an appeal filed by a Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Central Railways against the order of a district consumer redressal forum which had directed the DRM to pay Rs 1.35 lakhs to US resident Anagha Prasanna Walimbe for loss of her gold ornaments.
“It is not stated anywhere that the suitcase containing ornaments was under lock and key and when it was opened after leaving Pune railway station and reaching residence,” the bench presided by commission member S R Khanzode observed recently.
Khanzode also observed that the complaint of theft lodged with the Railway Police was closed and made final as the ornaments were not traceable.
In the absence of any cognate evidence placed on record by Walimbe, the railway administration shall not be held responsible for negligence or rendering deficient service to provide security/ protection to the luggage in the custody of the passenger, though traveling on a reserved ticket, Khanzode also said.
The Sholapur district consumer forum had directed the railways to pay Rs 1.35 lakhs along with 9 per cent interest after Walimbe filed a complaint saying that she traveled in the reserved second class on December 25, 1998, from Sholapur to Pune.
In her complaint, she said her luggage was kept under lock and key with her and after reaching Pune railway station, she took an autorickshaw to reach home. When she verified her luggage at night she found that her gold ornaments were missing from the suitcase.
She filed a case with the Railway police the next day.
Walimbe had alleged deficiency in service on the part of the railway administration and said there was no police bandobast or ticket collector to take care of her belongings of the passengers.
However, railways said she did not deposit her luggage with the authorities. Accordingly, she did not take a receipt.