Claims against Railways can broadly fall under the following categories:
2. Freight, damage to goods, non-delivery of goods, delayed delivery of goods.
3. Death and injury compensation arising from accidents
4. Delay in arrival and departure of trains causing inconvenience to passengers
As per the Indian Railways Act 1989 (having Indian Railways Act 1890 repealed) claims pertaining to fares, freight, goods and death & injury claim are to be dealt by the Claims Tribunal set up for this purpose under Railway Claims Tribunal Act 1987. However, there is no provision in the Railway Claims Tribunal Act to deal with complaints pertaining to deficiency in service.
Under the circumstances, what can a passenger do to claim compensation for deficiency in services on the part railways? We have come across many cases in the District Consumer Forums and State Commissions where complaints have been lodged under Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and affected passengers have been quite successful in their complaints.
Customer grievances will mostly relate to non-receipt of refunds against cancellation and TDR. Users are advised to contact IRCTC in the first instance for tickets issued by IRCTC. If users are not satisfied with the IRCTC’s response/ action, the complaints may be escalated to higher authorities. In case of tickets bought over the counter (PRS), the complaint should be lodged with the issuing zone’s CCM.
Indian Railways is divided into various zones and the complaints have to be preferred on the particular zone under with the originating stations falls. For e.g. if the complaint relates to a ticket issued under Northern Zone the matter has to be taken up with the Chief Commercial Officer of that Zone. Click here for the details of Claims Offices:
Passengers may approach the Railway Claims Tribunal for unresolved claims and compensation cases. You may visit http://www.claims.indianrail.gov.in/rct/rct_contact.jsp for the contact details of Railway Claims Tribunal offices.
Since there is no provision for compensation towards negligence or deficiency of service under the Railways Act, it is always advisable that claims are first preferred on the Tribunal as, it is quite possible that Railways will take a stand, if the matter directly goes to court, that the complainant has by-passed an established system of approaching the Tribunal. If the complainant is not satisfied with the Tribunal’s decision then he/she may initiate a case in the Consumer Forum / Court.