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The Station Master, Berhampore Court Station P.O. & P.S. & Others v/s Aditya Kumar Saha


Company & Directors' Information:- ADITYA LIMITED [Active] CIN = U45400DL2012PLC231460

Company & Directors' Information:- SAHA (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U67120KA1991PTC012267

Company & Directors' Information:- ADITYA AND COMPANY (INDIA) PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U27107RJ2004PTC019073

Company & Directors' Information:- C C SAHA LTD [Active] CIN = U36920WB1933PLC007695

Company & Directors' Information:- MASTER INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51100DL2014PTC269835

Company & Directors' Information:- B N SAHA CO PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U12000WB1938PTC009498

    First Appeal No. A/585/2017

    Decided On, 13 February 2019

    At, West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Kolkata

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. SHYAMAL GUPTA
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. UTPAL KUMAR BHATTACHARYA
    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellants: P. Prasad, Advocate. For the Respondent: Barun Prasad., Advocate.



Judgment Text

Utpal Kumar Bhattacharya, Member

Instant Appeal u/s 15 of the C.P Act, 1986 has been filed challenging the judgment and order dated 30.03.2017 passed by the Ld. District Forum, Murshidabad, Beharampur in Complaint Case No. CC/117/2015 allowing the complaint on contest against the Appellant/OP Nos. 1 and 2 with a litigation cost of Rs. 4,000/-

The Appellant/OP Nos. 1 and 2 have been directed jointly and severally to pay a sum of Rs. 58,480/- to the Appellant/Complainant including interest @ 8% since 27.09.2014 till the payment within 45 days from the date of the impugned judgment and order, in default, as ordered, the Appellants/OPs shall pay fine @ Rs. 50/- for each day’s delay and the said amount, if collected, shall be deposited in Consumer legal aid fund.

Briefly stated, the facts relevant for disposal of the instant Appeal were that the Respondent/Complainant, a supplier of chappals to various shops at Lalgola market for earning his livelihood, availed himself of 53151 UP Lalgola passenger from Bethuadohori station on 27.09.2014 along with his luggages consisting of four bags of chappals valued at Rs. 58,480/-. He had in his possession the railway monthly ticket from Bethuadohori to Lalgola—his destination and his luggage ticket No. 292716 dated 27.09.2014.

On 27.09.2014 when the Respondent/Complainant reached Bethuadohori station some RPF staff led by one officer Shri Biman Gorai forcefully detrained the Respondent/Complainant from the luggage without allowing with him to take with him his said luggages. The Appellant/OP No. 2 assured him of return of the luggages by the Railway Authorities. The Appellant/OP No. 2 and his associates slapped the Respondent/Complainant before putting him under lockup allegedly with the condition of releasing him only after Rs. 700/- was paid to the said team by the Respondent/Complainant.

The son of the Respondent/Complainant, being informed of the incident, reached the Bethuadohori Court station and allegedly paid the said officer and staff, the said amount only to have his father released from the lockup. The father and son then searched his luggages in all the stations from Bethuadohori to Lalgola mainly by way of interrogating the railway staff but could not find out his luggages. He, on the following day, lodged one complaint with RPF, Bethuadohori under GDF No. 1153 of 2014 dated 28.09.2014 and another complaint with Appellant/OP No. 3.

No effective steps towards recovery of the lost luggages, however, were taken by the Appellants/OPs and the Respondent/Complainant, this way, was put to a huge financial loss which prompted the Respondent/Complainant to file the Complaint Case before the Ld. District Forum. The impugned judgment and order which was under challenge in the instant Appeal, originated from the said Complaint Case.

Heard Ld. Advocates appearing on behalf of both sides.

The Ld. Advocate appearing on behalf of the Appellants/OPs submitted that the Respondent/Complainant should not be treated as a Consumer as he was not having a valid ticket for his journey in SLR compartment he was detained at platform No. 1 of Bethuadohori railway station and ultimately arrested being not satisfied with the response against interrogation, particularly in respect of his allegedly unauthorized entry in the SLR coach. The Appellants/OPs initiated a case under No. 56/2014 dated 27.09.2014 u/s 156 of the Railway Act against the Respondent/Complainant and thereafter, released him on bail bond of Rs. 700/-. The Respondent/Complainant, as he continued, subsequently surrendered before the Ld. CJM, and pleaded guilty of the offence and paid a fine of Rs. 750/-.

The Ld. Advocate continued to submit that the Respondent/Complainant boarded the train without any luggages and without any valid tickets. The entire story was cooked up by him in order to derive an unjust enrichment.

With the submission as above, the Ld. Advocate prayed for the Appeal to be allowed setting aside the impugned judgment and order.

The Ld. Advocate appearing on behalf of the Respondent/Complainant contrary to the submissions made on behalf of the Appellants/OPs, submitted that the Respondent/Complainant lodged FIR with Bethuadohori Court station on the date of the incident, running page 64.

Running page 67, as he continued, was the purchase voucher showing therein the value of the chappals purchased on the day previous to the date of the incident. The Ld. Advocate drew the notice of the Bench further to running pages 66 and 67 to justify the claim of the Respondent/Complainant towards booking of the luggages and is having the valid monthly ticket on the date of incident respectively.

Drawing notice to the third para of the running page 69 the entire page 2 of the complaint petition, the Ld. Advocate submitted that the Appellant/OP No. 2 and his subordinates committed crime by, allegedly, slapping the Respondent/Complainant on his face. The RPF personnel, as continued, acted in a most illegal and unethical manner when they forcefully detained the Respondent/Complainant without allowing him to take along with him the luggage containing shoes of substantial money value in spite of the fact that the Respondent/Complainant was having in his possession the valid monthly ticket for his journey and the ticket for the luggage he was carrying with him.

The Ld. Advocate went on to submit that the case record was seen to be devoid of any Memo of arrest. The record was also stated to be revealing of the fact that no evidence was filed before the Ld. District Forum nor was the Respondent/Complainant cross-examined to unveil the fact about his luggage.

The incident, as he concluded, was an instance of deficiency in rendering services by the personnel to the august government institution. The issue, as contended, should be examined from that perspective and the order should be passed to set a precedence to ensure that similar incident does not recur.

Perused the papers on record and considered submissions on behalf of both sides. There was no gainsaying the fact that the Respondent/Complainant boarded train from Bethuadohori with a valid monthly ticket. It was also a fact that he boarded with some pairs of shoes, newly purchased, at a cost of Rs. 58,480/- in four luggages with valid luggage tickets. From that angle, his journey as lawful passenger cannot be disputed. The Respondent/Complainant, therefore, was a consumer within a meaning of Section 2 (1) (d) as envisaged under the C.P Act, 1986.

The question as to whether the Respondent/Complainant had an unauthorized entry into the SLR coach remained undecided as the Respondent/Complainant denied the allegation brought against him by the Appellants/OPs. If, for argument’s sake, it was considered that the Respondent/Complainant boarded in the SLR coach by mistake or ignorance the Appellants/OPs no authority to detrain him parting him from his valid luggages which were ultimately lost and could not be recovered as yet.

The action on the part of the Appellant/OPs appeared to be a unique instance of deficiency in rendering services with reasoned justification for the same went abegging. We do not find any reason to dissent the offence of the Ld. District Forum so far as to the fixing of responsibility for the deficiency in service is concerned. We, however, are not at one with that part of the impugned order where a fine @ 50 for

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each day’s delay in compliance was imposed and intend to modify suitably waiving that part from the impugned judgment and order. Hence, Ordered that the Appeal be and the same is allowed in part with cost of Rs. 4,000/- payable to the Respondent/Complainant by the Appellants/OPs jointly and/or severally. The Appellants/OPs are further directed to pay jointly and/or severally Rs. 58,480/- being the cost of the luggages along with simple interest @ Rs. 8% p.a. from 27.09.2014 till the date of the instant order within 45 days hence. Failing which, a further simple interest @ 8% p.a. shall accrue to the cost of the luggage with interest accrued on it at the rate, as ordered, from the date of default till the amount is fully realized. The impugned judgment and order stands modified accordingly.
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