Central Delhi


SUDHA RANI SAXENA - Complainant(s)


UNION OF INDIA - Opp.Party(s)

06 Dec 2023


Complaint Case No. CC/280/2018
( Date of Filing : 17 Dec 2018 )
Dated : 06 Dec 2023
Final Order / Judgement

Before the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission [Central District] - VIII,      5th Floor Maharana Pratap ISBT Building, Kashmere Gate, Delhi

                                      Complaint Case No. 280/2018 (RBT)


Sudha Rani Saxena , R/o 230/16-A, Street No. 3, Fazalpur,

Mandawli, Railway Colony, Delhi-110092                                             …Complainant


OP1-Union of India, Indian Northern Railway,

Baroda House, New Delhi


OP2- The Station Master of New Delhi Station

New Delhi Station, New Delhi                                                                   …Opposite Party


                                                            Date of Institution: 17.12.2018 (CC. No. 280/2018)

                                                            Date of filing:        16.09.2014 (CC. No. 707/2014)

                                                            Date of Order:        06.12.2023


Shri Inder Jeet Singh, President

Ms. Shahina, Member -Female


Inder Jeet Singh , President


1.1.(Introduction to case of parties) : The complainant filed this complaint against OPs for allegations of deficiency in services as well as negligence. The complainant alongwith her sister was travelling in rail from New Delhi Railway Station to Lucknow on reserved seats. However, at Ghaziabad station, during ticket checking, an unknown person snatched her gold locket forcibly.  The railway administration was immediately informed in writing of the episode happened. It was duty of Railways for safe, secure and comfortable journey as well as safety and security belongings of passengers. The complainant’s belongs were not recovered.

1.2   But OPs opposed the claim that neither there was any deficiency in service nor negligence, apart from the claim is not tenable under the law. The Consumer Forum/Commission lacks territorial jurisdiction and also on the subject matter, since such issues are within the power of Claim Commissioner to decide, being requirement of sec. 13(1) of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1989. The complaint is liable to be dismissed.

1.3     This complaint [CC no.707/2014] was originally filed before the DCDRF, New Delhi District, however, by order dated 26.09.2018 in TC No. 42/2018, the Hon’ble State Commission transferred the complaint to the present DCDRF/Commission, Central District, Delhi [now having CC no.280/2018].  

2.1 (case of complainant) : Briefly, on 18.09.2012 the complainant along with her sister started their rail journey from New Delhi to Lucknow via Lucknow mail train no. 12230 PNR No. 2339204919 in coach S2 on reserved seats no. 66-67. The train was moving from Ghazaibad Station and during checking of tickets some unidentified person entered in the train and coach, complainant’s gold locket (weighing 10 gms having market value of Rs. 30,000/-) was snatched and culprit jumped from the train. There was no security police in the compartment. Immediately, the complainant called at no. 100 but there was no result. The complainant also contacted T/C and also recorded her complaint but there was no action on the part of OP1 & OP2. The OP1 is Union of India Northern Railway Department and OP2 is Station Master. There are deficiency of services, negligence and want of security on the part of OPs, that is why the complainant suffered theft loss. The complainants claims amount of Rs. 30,000/- being market value of gold locket, compensation of Rs. 50,000/-, litigation expenses of Rs. 20,000/- besides other reliefs.

2.2. The complaint is accompanied with copies - identity proof, reservation of railway ticket from New Delhi to Lucknow and copy of application under RTI in respect of record of report lodged with Railways.

3.1 (case of OP) : The opposite party protested the complaint that the consumer Fora at Delhi lacks jurisdiction on the subject matter, since the power lies with the Claims Commissioner u/s 13 (1) of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 as well as nothing had happened, nor any cause of action arisen within the territorial jurisdiction of this Commission, since complaint was to be filed within the jurisdiction of Commission in whose area cause of action has arisen.  OPs refer 'Sonic Surgical case' and 'UOI Vs Niwa Aggarwal case' (without citations). Moreover, the complainant is not a consumer to be covered under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.  The Railway administration is not responsible for any loss, destruction, damages, deterioration or non-delivery of luggage unless a railway servant has booked the luggage against issuing receipt. Moreover, in case luggage is being carried by the passenger in his charge, the Railway administration shall not be liable unless it is proved that such loss was due to negligence or misconduct on the part of Railway or its servants. The Indian Railway has no liability for un-booked luggage The OPs rely upon section 100 of Railways Act as well as on case law Vijay Kumar Jain (SLP No. 34738-34739 dod 02.07.2013). There was non-compliance of section 80 CPC for notice prior to filing of the complaint.

3.2 The OP also denies other allegations of the complaint it was not signed by the complainant and it is not maintainable. The complainant is also not a consumer, therefore, she has no locus-standi to file the complaint. It is own case of complainant that gold locket was in her absolute care and custody and the complainant is estopped for filing the complaint because of her acts, conduct and acquiescence. There was no complaint made before the TC. Therefore, for want of any consumer dispute, the complaint deserves dismissal.

4. (Replication of complainant) :  The complainant filed detailed replication to the written statement of opposite party and complainant opposed allegations of written statement, apart from making certain explanation, citing Shantidevi M Dhanwatay Vs UOI AIR 2004 SC 2368 that the complainant is a consumer, she is covered under the provision of the Consumer Protection Act.  The present Consumer Forum/Commission has jurisdiction on the subject matter as well as complaint is within the territorial jurisdiction of this Commission. The complaint is properly filed against both the OPs in terms of law being governed by Constitution of India. The complaint has been signed by the complainant and she has locus-standi to file the complaint. The complainant also took exceptions to OP's plea in written statement to shift obligation on the others, whereas it is duty and legal obligation of opposite party to take care of safety of luggage and appropriate care during journey of the passenger. There is no legal requirement for present complaint to give advance notice u/s 80 of CPC. The complaint is correct.

5.1 (Evidence of parties) : The parties were given opportunities to lead evidence, however, no evidence has been led on behalf of complainant.

5.2 On the other side OPs led evidence by filing affidavit of Ms Upasana Paul DGM/SS Northern Railway, the affidavit is replica of written statement in compact form.

6. (Final hearing) - The complainant and OPs filed their written arguments, followed by oral submissions and the same are on the lines of their pleadings. The parties were given opportunity to make oral submissions. However, the complainant failed to make oral submission.

         Ld. Counsel for the OPs made oral submission. During the course of submissions, OPs rely upon Station Superintendent and Another Vs. Surrender Bhola 2023 SCC Online SC 741 that theft could not be said to be any way of deficiency in services by the Railways; if the passenger is not able to protect his own belongings, the Railways cannot be held responsible.

7.1 (Findings) :  The rival contentions of both the sides are considered, keeping in view the statutory provisions of law, case law and material on record. As per the pleadings of the parties and evidence led on behalf of OP, there are some legal issues raised by the OP and some of them are on the factual matrix. It is appropriate to deal with them one by one.

7.2.  Firstly issue of  territorial jurisdiction is being taken. According to case of complainant, she boarded the train from New Delhi Railway Station and incident happened at Ghaziabad Railway Station during ticket checking. Since she started the journey from New Delhi railway station, the complainant is within the territorial jurisdiction of this Forum..  Whereas, according to opposite party, the incident happened at Ghaziabad the Consumer Fora at Delhi lacks territorial jurisdiction. OPs refer Sonic Surgery case and 'UOI Vs Niwa Aggarwal case' to fortify their stand on the point of territorial jurisdiction.

             However, as per undisputed evidence, the complainant had boarded the train from New Delhi Railway Station  and during the journey  the incident happened at Ghaziabad, UP, which is very nearby Delhi too. By boarding the train from New Delhi Railway Station and its reaching at Ghaziabad is a continuity of the journey but the episode of snatching happened during check of travelling tickets. But OPs are focusing just fixed place of Ghaziabad that the jurisdiction will be of area of Ghaziabad exclusively.   Whereas in the situations like journey or series of events, the course of action will be treated in continuation places within the two points of journey  irrespective of fact actual point of episode. In Manju Kumar versus Indian Railways CC No. 260/2014 dod 19.10.2016 (NC), in that case of theft, the complainant had purchased a ticket from New Delhi, the train was also boarded from New Delhi Railway Station for Banglore and it was held that part of cause of action arose in New Delhi and Commission has jurisdiction to try the complaint. The circumstances of present complaint are not exception to it, therefore, Consumer Forum at Delhi and the present Commission has territorial jurisdiction to try the complaint. Moreover, the offices of OPs are also situated within the jurisdiction of this Commission. On both counts, the plea of OPs does not sustain.  Accordingly, this contention of OPs is disposed of.  The features of M/s Sonic Surgical Vs National Insurance Company [Civil Appeal no.1560/2004 dod 20.10.2009], referred by OPs,  are distinguishable from this case as in that case there was fire at a godown, which was a stationary place for the purposes of cause of action, apart from issuing place of insurance for the purposes of territorial jurisdiction.

7.3  The secondly issue of jurisdiction on subject matter is being taken. According to opposite party, it is strictly within the power of the Claim Commissioner to deal with the issue of luggage and none else. Whereas, the case of complainant is that jurisdiction lies with the Consumer Forum.

        This is also considered. In Union of India vs  Sanjeev  Oil Sukhrai Dave 1 2003 CPJ 72 (NC), it was held that luggage may be those which were entrusted to Railways as carrier or it may be personal luggage carried by the passenger.  Secondly, there is no bar under the Railways Tribunal Claims Act, 1987 to  file complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Thirdly, section 3 of the Act 2016 is also abundantly clear that provisions of the Act, 1986 are in addition to other laws in force and not in derogation thereto. Thus. it is clear that so far consumer disputes regarding services are concerned, the consumer forum has power to deal with such consumer disputes. Moreover, law was also laid down in Deputy Chief Commercial, Manager Eastern Railways Vs Dr KK Sharma and others 2000 III CP 1 (NC), that sections 13 and 15 of the Railways Act 1987 do not take away jurisdiction of the consumer Fora to decide question of services. It provides additional remedy to customers. So, it is held that the Consumer Commission/Fora has jurisdiction on the subject matter to try the complaint.

7.4 It is matter of record that the complaint bears signature of complainant and the complaint is also supported by her affidavit under her signature. Therefore, the OPs have taken the objection without looking at the record and it carries no weight.

7.5. The point of want of notice u/s 80 CPC is raised by OPs but opposed by the complainant. Its answer is in the Act, 1986.  There is no statutory requirement for legal notice u/s 80 CPC prior to filing of complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.  This plea of OPs is not tenable.

7.6. According to OPs, she is not a consumer but the plea of complainant is that she is consumer since services were being rendered by the OPs.

       Its answer is in definition of 'service' under clause (o) of section 2 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, which include 'transport services' specifically. Without need of further discussion, it is held that the complainant availed services of the OPs, there was reservation of tickets against consideration paid, the complainant is a consumer within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

7.7.   So far other aspects and features of the case are concerned, on one side the complainant complains of deficiency of services since her costly gold locket was snatched by unknown culprit during checking of ticket.  It is material question of safety and care of belongings and luggage of passengers/public, who generally travel in the Rails. Whereas on the other side OPs plead strongly that it is false complaint as well as no event had happened in the area of Delhi, apart from the Railway Administration takes care of all of its obligations.

            By plain looking at record, the allegations of complaint are not admitted by the OPs. The complainant had filed reservation ticket, her identity proof, and copy of application seeking information and record under RTI. The complainant has not led the evidence even to establish such record. Simultaneously, the complainant’s plea was that immediately Railway Administration was informed of the episode of snatching of gold locket during her journey and that too when the tickets were being checked at Ghaziabad police station. The complainant required to prove as to in what manner there was snatching of her gold locket and in which condition it was lying in her custody vis-à-vis proof of locket, its weight and value at stated in the complaint, but there is no evidence led by the complainant to this effect. Although, the proceedings under the consumer law are summery in nature but the burden to prove them lies on the complainant, however, the complainant failed to discharge this burden.

8.  In view of the above, the complainant failed to establish the allegations as well as the circumstances of her complaint. The complaint fails. The complaint is dismissed. No order as to cost.

9. Announced on this 6th day of December 2023 [अग्रहायण 15, साका 1945].

10. Copy of this Order be sent/provided forthwith to the parties free of cost as per rules for compliances, besides to upload on the website of this Commission.             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    [Inder Jeet Singh]




                                                                                                                         Member (Female)                                                   



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