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(Agency) : Ruling that a rail passenger is a consumer nonetheless, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-III, Hyderabad, here on July 24 directed the Ministry of Railways, Southern Railways and South Central Railways (SCR) to pay Rs.1.1 lakh to a passenger as compensation for her jewellery which was stolen during travel.The complainant, Geeta Pissay, a resident of Kachiguda, had filed a petition with the forum seeking Rs.2. lakh as compensation for her loss and mental agony. She had stated that while travelling from the Dharvad station to Nampally station on December 6, 2012, her bag containing different types of jewellery worth Rs.1.57 lakh and Rs.1,000 cash, was stolen.The bag was snatched by an unknown person, who had entered the train after which Ms. Pissay pulled the emergency chain. On the advice of Railway officials, she lodged a complaint with the Railway Police at Hyderabad. After unsuccessfully enquiring with the authorities about her case, she approached the forum, stating that the railway failed in its service to provide security, and sought compensation. The Railway authorities contended that Ms. Pissay was not a consumer as such, and that she had paid a consideration to



perform her journey, which was completed. Hence, they also disputed her claim.Citing a prior case, the forum pointed out that the National Commission had ruled that a railway passenger who purchases a ticket is a consumer, as he pays for services, and hence said that the plaint was valid. In its ruling, the forum while referring to another old case, showed that it is the TTE’s responsibility to ensure that no intruders enter reserved compartments and that those who have reserved tickets are liable to travel with some amount of security and safety. Since it was not disputed that the theft had taken place the forum ruled that the TTE failed to prevent of unauthorised entry in Ms. Pissay’s coach. However, since the police recovered 35 grams out of the stolen 60 grams of gold from Ms. Pissay, the forum ruled that the railway authorities must pay the complainant for the lost jewellery, i.e. 25 grams.Based on the evidence, the forum ruled that the railway authorities pay Ms. Pissay Rs.80,000, the cost of 25 grams of gold jewellery, Rs.1,000 cash with interest at 9 per cent from the date of theft till realisation . It also stated that an additional compensation of Rs.30,000 was to be awarded to her.
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