The apex consumer commission has set aside lower fora orders asking Railways to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to a couple for their stolen baggage, saying they failed to raise an alarm after the alleged theft.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) also said that the decision of the foras awarding the compensation to Andhra Pradesh native Kadambari Rama Joga Rao and his wife Kadambari Tara Devi, was clearly “perverse in the eyes of law”.
The NCDRC said that the orders passed by the district forum, duly confirmed by the State Commission in appeal, do not reflect correct appreciation of facts and circumstances.
“The two consumer fora below have not mentioned even a word as to how they concluded that the Railways were liable to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation for the ornaments, whereas in the FIR itself, the value of the ornaments has been stated to be only Rs 3 lakh.”
According to the complaint, the couple were travelling to Bhubaneswar from Visakhapatnam on February 8, 2001 and when the train halted at a station around 6.20 pm, two unauthorised women aged about 45 years and 17 years entered their compartment and lifted the handbag of the complainant containing cash of Rs 3,500 and gold, diamond items of Rs 5 lakh.
“The complainants could have alerted the RPF personnel to apprehend the two women, who are stated to have lifted the handbag of the couple, but nothing of that sort was done by the complainants. As already stated, there is no mention about raising any alarm etc. at the time of the incident, which was 6.20 pm,” the apex consumer bench said.
“The orders passed by the state commission as well as the district forum are, therefore, clearly perverse in the eyes of law and these are set aside,” the bench headed by presiding member B C Gupta said.
The commission was hearing an appeal filed by the Railways against the state commission’s order awarding compensation to the couple.
The Railways claimed that the coach attendant and the TTE had discharged their duties correctly and did not allow any unauthorised persons in the compartment.
The NCDRC took note of the submission of the Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of the East Coast Railway that there were 29 RPF personnel deployed at the station that time.
The Railways has been asked by the apex consumer commission to compensate an employee for rejecting his medical claim on the grounds that it was not an emergency situation when he took his wife to a private hospital.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) upheld Punjab state consumer commission’s order which had directed the Railways to pay a compensation of Rs 15,000 besides reimbursing medical claim of Rs 56,477 to Ludhiana resident Swaran Singh whose wife was admitted in a hospital.
“The State Commission has taken a view that continuous fever and vomiting for six days would have been detrimental to the life of the patient who remained in hospital for almost 10 days.
“Therefore, it was a case of emergency and as such, the rejection of reimbursement claim by the opposite party (Railways) was not justified,” the NCDRC bench headed by its presiding member Justice Ajit Bharihoke said.
According to the complaint, Singh, a retired railway employee, was a beneficiary of Liberalized Health Scheme of the Railway under which his wife was also entitled to the benefit.
The complaint said that Singh’s wife was rushed to a private hospital in an emergency medical condition on March 22, 2009 and was admitted there till April 1, 2009.
The Railways had rejected Singh’s claim saying the insured has to avail treatment in a private/recognized hospital and civil hospital only under such emergency that there was no scope for coming to a Railway hospital.
The district forum had dismissed the complaint saying the emergency for taking treatment at a private hospital without previous approval from the concerned authority was not established.
The state commission allowed Singh’s appeal and asked the Railways to reimburse the amount with compensation.
The Railway’s appeal against the state commission’s order was rejected by the NCDRC.
In a fresh development, Railways, armed forces and Association of Universities today moved the Supreme Court seeking recall of its judgement on implementation of Justice R M Lodha panel recommendations advocating sweeping reforms in BCCI.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for them, told a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra that as a result of the Lodha panel’s recommendations, their membership in BCCI has been “downgraded” from permanent to associate status.
The top law officer said all the three bodies have been “integral constituents” of BCCI and have been promoting cricket and employing cricketers.
“Railways, armed forces, Associations of Universities, are three members of BCCI’s which has 30 full-time members.
They have had voting rights in the last 50 years, have bodies in cricket, give jobs, have stadiums, but now have been downgraded. My status as a full-time member has been taken away…
“We have no love for BCCI but larger questions must be addressed and debated by a larger bench. There has been a change in the electoral college. How could the court downgrade our full membership in BCCI without even issuing notice to us,” he said and cited a judgement in the A R Antulay case in which the court had revisited its earlier verdict.
Rohatgi said the Lodha panel was primarily formed to probe IPL spot-fixing issue and later the scope got widened to the extent that it is now participating in day-to-day affairs of the BCCI.
He referred to the inapplicability of certain suggestions of the panel and gave an illustration of DDCA, saying it is a company and how can it be governed by regulations when there is a specific (company) law to deal with it.
Detailing the facts, he said the BCCI was a private society under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act and Railways, Armed Services and Association of Universities were its permanent members.
“The issue which needs to be examined is whether an interim application can be filed in a parent judgment. We will not shy away from legal issues,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said while posting the matter for hearing on January 24.
Railways has urged the National Green Tribunal to direct the Delhi government to utilise Rs 11.25 crore given to it way back in 2003-2004 to rehabilitate slum clusters along the rail tracks here.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for Railways, told a bench headed by NGT chief Justice Swatanter Kumar that it had given Rs 11.25 crore to Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) for relocation of jhuggis but they have not utilised the money till date.
“The amount of Rs 11.25 crore given to DUSIB should be utilised and they should expeditiously decide the relocation and rehabilitation of jhuggis (slums) near railway tracks,” the ASG said.
The bench, however, said it would hear the matter later and posted it for hearing on January 23.
In the earlier hearing, DUSIB had put the onus on the transport behemoth, telling the bench that as per the 2015 Delhi Slum and JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation policy, it was the land owning agency (railways) that was responsible for rehabilitation of slums.
It had said that at present, it had a number of flats constructed at Baprola and the department was prepared to start the relocation process of jhuggi basti at Azadpur and Lawrence Road, which have 389 jhuggis.
The Delhi government body had also said it was willing to pay interest at the rate of 7 per cent per annum which comes to over Rs 9.51 crore. Thus the total amount is about Rs 20.25 crore against which 101 flats can be allotted at present.
Under attack from NGT for failure to keep the tracks clean, the Railways have sought to shift the blame on Delhi government for not relocating slum clusters from its land by allotting them flats, despite directions of the green panel.
Alleging non-cooperation by the Delhi government and DUSIB, the PSU behemoth had said the “only permanent” solution for maintaining sustained cleanliness on tracks was their rehabilitation.
Under attack from the National Green Tribunal for failure to keep the tracks clean, the Railways has sought to shift the blame on Delhi government for not relocating slum clusters from its land by allotting them flats despite directions of the green panel.
Alleging non-cooperation by the Delhi government and Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), the PSU behemoth has said the “only permanent” solution for maintaining sustained cleanliness on tracks is their rehabilitation.
Railways moved an application before a bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar alleging that despite the fact that five out of six slum clusters have already been surveyed, DUSIB has not shifted them till date.
In its plea, the Railways said “it is submitted that DUSIB is constantly trying to defeat the laudable object and also orders of the tribunal by insisting upon the new policy which is not in existence and is only pending consideration.”
The NGT had two days ago directed Railways to strictly impose a fine of Rs 5,000 on those defecating or throwing waste on tracks and act against them effectively.
It had also castigated the Railways and other authorities for “definite negligence” and “intentional lack of will” to implement its order issued last year when it had imposed a cost of Rs 5 lakh on the Railways for its failure to keep tracks and platforms in New Delhi clean.
The railways, in its plea, said “as large amount of municipal solid waste is being generated continuously by slum clusters, little success has been achieved in maintaining sustained cleanliness near tracks on the stretches where large Jhuggi Jhopri (JJ) clusters are existing. The only permanent solution for maintaining sustained cleanliness on tracks is to get JJ clusters removed.
It blamed DUSIB for not shifting the identified JJ clusters “despite specific orders.” These clusters along a 7 km stretch in Dayabasti/Azadpur area of North Delhi which were “identified to be taken up first for removal”.
It contended that in compliance to the directions of NGT, the Railways had approached Delhi Police and Delhi government for appointment of a joint team for collection of fines. The Delhi Police has deputed a team for the purpose but no representative of the Delhi government was available.
“In fact, it was only on July 1 that the Delhi government has appointed a nodal officer for the purpose. The railways would like to submit that such delays on part of other stakeholders is leading to not only loss of initiatives undertaken by the department but also weakens the thrust of all other actions taken by it,” it said.
Advocate Om Prakash, representing Railways, said the
department had already paid Rs 11.25 crore to DUSIB in 2003- 2004 for rehabilitation of 4,410 jhuggies from railway land.
“However, only 297 jhuggies have been removed till date. The NGT had directed DUSIB on March 18, 2015 that the balance amount of money should be utilised for rehabilitation of jhuggies from these identified six clusters and they should be removed within six months,” he said.
Railways also contended that its stand with respect to Delhi Slum and JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015 of not being able to contribute “either by way of land or by money” is consistent with the stand of Railways on the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
“It is submitted that under the basis of any slum development policy, it is the city which draws benefit from this situation and therefore under such policies, implementation has been made the responsibility of the state government,” it said.
The PSU behemoth has further alleged that there is defecation in open by the slum dwellers in and around the tracks for which DUSIB was directed to provide mobile toilets near the custers.
“Railway has already given NOC for 21 locations which was asked for by the DUSIB. However, there is little progress on the elimination or reduction in open defecation in these areas,” it claimed.
The Railways also sought waiver on NGT’s direction to pay a fine of Rs five lakh for its failure to keep tracks and platforms in New Delhi station clean.
Regarding the green panel’s order of strict implementation of Rs 5,000 fine on those defecating on the tracks or throwing waste there, it said it “continues to suffer … Despite having made efforts to contain the problem through imposition of the environment fine as directed by the tribunal. The squatters have not paid the fine as yet.
The Union Government told the Bombay High Court on Wednesday that it was ready to bear 50 per cent of expenses for hiring and deploying an additional 100 Government Railway Police (GRP) officials on railways in the interest of women’s safety.
In an affidavit, the Railway Board said it had sanctioned a proposal for additional 100 GRP officials across suburban railway stations and local trains to ensure safety of women commuters.
Justices Abhay Oka and A S Chandurkar asked the concerned authorities to file affidavits within two weeks, explaining when the process of appointing GRP officials would be initiated as well as when it would be completed.
The Railway Board also informed the court that it is willing to bear 50 per cent of the cost to be incurred for additional deployment. Maharashtra government would bear the remaining 50 per cent cost, it said.
The High Court was hearing a suo moto (on its own) public interest litigation (PIL) based on newspaper reports and a PIL filed by an NGO called Help Mumbai Foundation about women’s safety while travelling in suburban local trains.
Initially, there was an issue between the Railway Board and Maharashtra government about who should bear the cost of deploying additional GRP officials.
Later, the Railways Board agreed to bear 50 per cent of the cost incurred to deploy additional GRP officials but said Maharashtra government would have to send a formal proposal through its finance department.
The PIL pointed out that Maharashtra government has not yet decided on the course of action on recommendations made by the Justice Dharmadhikari Committee to curb crimes against women in state.
Maharashtra government had appointed Justice (retired) Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari to head the committee.
The committee, which comprised senior women political leaders, social activists as well as bureaucrats, submitted various reports and recommendations after studying laws related to crimes against women in the state and the country.
Today, the High Court asked the government to inform what it proposes to do about the Dharmadhikari Committee’s recommendations, within two weeks.
The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday directed the Indian Railways to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to national level volleyball player Arunima Sinha whose left leg had to be amputated after she was pushed off a running train last week, a lawyer said.
Arunima was pushed out of the general compartment of the Padmawati Express near Bareilly April 11 while resisting a chain-snatching attempt by some hoodlums while she was travelling from Lucknow to Delhi.
The court ordered the railways to pay the monetary assistance on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Adarsh Mehrotra.
‘In the PIL filed Monday, I cited Arunima’s case and sought the court’s direction on ensuring safety and security of train passengers,’ Mehrotra told reporters here, sharing details about the relief ordered by the court.
‘I also stressed on the need of starting a helpline for redressal of emergent problems of the railway passengers,’ he added.
According to Mehrotra, the next hearing of the case would take place after two weeks.
Arunima, who is now in the orthopaedic department at AIIMS, was brought to the hospital’s Trauma Centre on Monday night after a serious infection was noticed in the amputated leg for which she underwent a second round of surgery at Lucknow’s prestigious King George’s Medical College — now renamed the Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University.