a consumer forum has ordered the Western Railway (WR) to pay a compensation of Rs 64,000 to a Valsad woman and her four-year-old son after they were robbed at knifepoint in the first-class compartment of the Vapi passenger train as it left Bandra station in 2014.
“The opposite party (Western Railway) by the advertisement and citizen’s charter have given commitment to their passengers for providing safe, secure and dependable train service. The non-providing of services of TTE and attendants in the first-class compartment of the Vapi passenger train and absence of police at the platform for the safe and security of the complainants is the deficiency in service on the part of opposite party,” the forum held on Saturday. Of the Rs 64,000 compensation amount, Rs 50,000 was for the mental agony caused to the complainant, Aikal Shah, and her son Raj; Rs 3,000 for the expenses the family incurred after Raj went into severe depression and developed a phobia of trains; Rs 6,000 was towards the cash that was stolen, and Rs 5,000 towards costs of the complaint.
The incident took place on March 26, 2014, at 9.25 am, as the train left Bandra station. Aikal, who was travelling in the first-class compartment, Shah locked the coupe from inside. She heard a knock, but did not open the door until the person outside told her that he was the TTE and wanted to check her ticket. But when she opened the door, two armed men barged in and snatched her purse and mobile phone. When Shah attempted to scream for help, they threatened to “cut her son into pieces” and throw him off the running train. After Shah handed over all her jewellery, the duo jumped off the running train. There were no ticket checkers or attendants in the compartment. A shaken Shah got off at the next stop, Andheri station, and lodged a complaint with the Bandra railway police.
In August 2014, the Bandra Railway police recovered Shah’s jewelery and mobile phone and handed it over to her.
The WR argued that it was not its responsibility to pay for the loss of Shah’s valuables, but the consumer forum didn’t agree and ordered it to compensate the complainant.