A single SMS that cost IRCTC Rs. 25,000 in compensation

IRCTC has been in the news quite often, most of the reasons being negative. But perhaps this time the negligence cost them too much, as a single wrong message cost them Rs. 25,000 in compensation.

The incident occurred around the Mahabodhi Express, which was scheduled to travel from Allahabad to New Delhi on May 29. Passengers having reservations in the said train received a message from IRCTC that said that the train had been canceled and they should cancel their tickets in order to get refunds. It later turned out to be a case of gross negligence, as the train was never canceled and made its scheduled journey.

While most passengers chose to ignore this carelessness, Vijay Pratap Singh was different. A resident of Vaishali, Mr. Singh had booked tickets for him and his son on that train. After the SMS about the cancellation, Mr. Singh sent his son Akshat via cab, who had urgent business in the city. Later, his son informed him that the train did make the journey instead of getting canceled. Mr. Singh only got the refund of one of the tickets, as the other one was booked under tatkal quota. Normally, tatkal tickets are non-refundable, but this was not a normal case in any way. After getting no response from IRCTC even after multiple queries, Vijay Pratap Singh decided to file a case in Delhi district consumer forum. He demanded compensation for the canceled ticket as well the cab fare, which the forum obliged and instructed IRCTC to pay him Rs. 25,000.

However, IRCTC decided to take the matter further and appealed to the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The argument of IRCTC that the decision by district forum was taken in haste was dismissed by thy commission, who upheld the judgment. The court remarked that even if the first SMS was sent by mistake, the organization could have sent another message informing the passengers about the mishap.Their failure to do so reflects how little concerned they are about their consumers.

When the representative of IRCTC argued that the SMS was sent on behalf of the agency responsible and thus IRCTC should not be held accountable for the negligence, the court dismissed it too. The court remarked that as far as financial matters are considered, the corporation and railways are essential the same entity, and thus, are equally responsible for any mistakes committed.

While we are pretty used to seeing cases of negligence from IRCTC in particular and Indian Railways in general, the big question is this: Will the organization ever learn from its mistakes?

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