Indian Railways has been asked by a consumer forum in New Delhi to pay Rs. 25,000 to a man for changing his reservation status at the last moment before the journey and failing to accommodate him.

New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, presided by CK Chaturvedi, asked Railways to pay the amount to Chandigarh-based dental surgeon Dr Mohit Jain, noting that his ticket’s status was changed from RAC (reservation against cancellation) to waiting and he was informed about it at the last moment in May, 2010.

The forum’s bench, also comprising its members SR Chaudhary and Ritu Garodia, noted that the change occurred due to few seats in the replaced coach after the removal of a defective boogie and said the Railways should have foreseen the difficulty to be faced by reserved seats’ passengers.

“Opposite party (Railways) should have foreseen difficulty to be faced by reserved seats’ passengers for want of these seats in the new coach. The opposite party (OP) should have accommodated them in other coaches if possible,” it said.

It added that this caused inconvenience to Jain and he was unable to attend the conference and had to travel back to Chandigarh as he had little time for last minute alternative arrangements.

“He is entitled to the fare spent in journey from Chandigarh to Delhi and back, ticket fare for unused ticket and the compensation for inconvenience etc. We award a compensation of Rs. 5,000 for the loss and fare etc., and award Rs. 20,000 for inconvenience, harassment, metal agony and litigation expenses,” the forum said.

It, however, noted that the Railways had little control on the situation developed by less number of seats in the coach, for valid reasons.

Jain had told the forum that he had booked a ticket from New Delhi to Mumbai for a journey on May 30, 2010 as he had to attend a conference there.

He was given an RAC ticket but when he reached New Delhi Railway Station, he came to know that the status of ticket had been changed to wait listed, he said.

He had alleged that the change was notified to him at the last moment, leaving no time for him to plan any other mode of transport and he had to return back to Chandigarh.

Thereafter, he approached the forum. Railways, however, had said in an RTI reply to Jain that the seat was changed due to few seats in the changed coach.

It said the coach was replaced as the earlier one was defective.