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Consumer Forum allows complaint of senior citizen against IRCTC

By Adv. Jatin Ramaiya

Anil Bihari Sahay approached the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, South Goa, complaining against the chairman and managing director, Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation for deficiency in service. Sahay a senior citizen and resident of Ponda had booked flight tickets for himself and his wife by Air India scheduled to leave from Jaipur to Goa on March 11 2018 at 1.55 pm. Sahay claimed that despite reaching at the airport at 12 pm they were not allowed to board the flight. He was informed by the office staff at the airport that there was no booking in his name or his wife and further informed by the officer that the Jaipur Airport had closed for renovations which was scheduled to take place on that day starting from 10 am to 6 pm and hence the flight was rescheduled and left at 8 am in the morning and that all the passengers had been informed about the change in timing of the flight.

Sahay claimed that upon contacting the representative on IRCTC one of their representatives gave the ticket number to him and the airport officer offered to provide an alternate flight on March 13 2018.  Sahay refused to travel on March 13 as he had some urgent personal work on March 12 in Goa and booked another ticket on the same day in Indigo Airlines for a total amount of Rs27,920.  Sahay claimed in his complaint that though IRCTC refunded the amount of Rs 8,943  paid to book to Air India tickets however it did not pay the amount of Rs 27,920 spent for booking tickets at the last minute.

Aggrieved by the conduct of IRCTC Sahay claimed in his complaint that he was entitled to refund  of Rs 27,920 paid on for booking of flight tickets on Indigo Airlines, damages to the tune of Rs 50,000 for harassment, mental tension, stress and for inconvenience caused to him and costs of Rs 25,000.  IRCTC appeared before the members of the Forum and filed their defense, however, the since the same was beyond the time prescribed by the Consumer Protection Act, the forum refused to consider the same. The members of the Forum whilst finding the complaint in favour of the Sahay held that “From the airlines tickets it is seen that the complainant got flight booking done on the Indigo Airlines  which left Jaipur at 10.20 pm and reached Goa at 6 am the following morning.”

The Forum further observed that “The act of not having informed Air India about the tickets booked through them for the journey from Jaipur to Goa on March 11 2018 smacks of deficiency of service on the part of the opposite Party.” Whilst partly allowing the complaint filed by Sahay the members of the Forum observed that Sahay and his wife who are senior citizens were put to hardship and harassment and forced to reach Goa by spending a sleepless night and was forced to spend on their tickets an additional sum of Rs 18,977 which he is entitled to be reimbursed. The members of the Forum further directed the IRTC to compensate Sahay for hardship and suffering undergone by him and his wife due to the delay departure and arrival to Goa by paying a sum of Rs 10,000 towards compensation and costs of Rs 10,000.

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