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Doctrine of res ipsa loquitur upheld while granting compensation to former HC Judge

Vineet Kumar ,
  24 January 2014       Share Bookmark

Court :
New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum
Brief :
The three member bench presided by judge C.K. Chaturvedi awarded a compensation of Rs.50,000/- to the complainant, Justice Dilip Raosaheb Deshmukh, together as a consolidated damages for deficiencies etc., and award Rs.10,000/- for litigation expenses as the Indian Railways shifted the reserved seats of the Judge and his family members to another coach without informing them. The Forum held that the facts clearly show an attempt by the Railways to accomodate some other persons in place of reserved seats of the complainants resulting in ''hardship, inconvenience, humiliation and harassment to complainant, Judges who are not used to such hiccups and inconvenience in the journies during the career.'' The Forum also stated that the Railways resorted to falsehood instead of ''expressing regrets.''
Citation :
Consumer Protection Act, 1986





Case No.C.C./191/13            Dated:


In the matter of:


1. Dilip Raosaheb Deshmukh

S/o. Late Sh. Raosaheb  Deshmukh.


2.  Prerna Deshmukh

W/o. Justice Sh. Dilip Raosaheb Deshmukh


3.  Shraddha Deshmukh

D/o. Justice Sh. Dilip Raosaheb Deshmukh,

All R/o. 77, Type VII Bunglow,

New Moti Bagh,

New Delhi-110 021.…....COMPLAINANTS




1.  The General Manager, Northern Railways

Head Office,

1st Floor, Baroda House,

Anne Building,

K.G. Marg,

N. Delhi-110 001.


2.  The General Manager, North Central Railways

Head Office,

Subedar Ganj,

Allahabad-211 003.


3.  Union of India

Ministry of Railways

Through its Secretary,

Rail Bhawan, Rafi Marg,

New Delhi-110 001


Also at:


1/704, G.T. Road,


Delhi-110 032.




President : C.K. Chaturvedi


The complainant, Justice Dilip Raosaheb Deshmukh serving as Chairman of the Company Law Board, at Delhi undertook a journey from Datia (MP) To Bhopal on 28.11.2012, after getting the reservation of seats done at Delhi, against PNR No.214-0423846, for confirmed seats NO.29,30 and 41, in Coach B-3.  It is alleged that the train at Datia stops for only 2 minutes, and when the complainant with his family members reached bogie B-3, he found the bogie locked from inside.  This created a great uneasiness and anxiety to complainants as they feared missing the train.  A police attendant with Justice Dilip Raosaheb Deshmukh entered the coach B-3, from  some other coach vestibule and opened the coach, and hurriedly they entered into the train with difficulty.  On entering the coach, they learned from TTE that there was no reservation in the name of complainants in that bogie, and the seat No.29,30 and 41 were reserved for some other passengers, who were supposed to board the train from onward station Vidisha.  The Justice, stood clueless and embarrassed in the bogie, with luggage, not knowing what to do.  The TTE, after some time found that their name were showed in coach B-2, at seat No.17,18 and 20.  They were asked to shift to B-2.  The Justice, in his old age, with luggage crossed the whole bogie to reach the place, and suffered a trauma.  The complainant issued a legal notice  dt.  23.12.2012 to G.M. Northrn Railway and after two and half months, through lawyer was informed that earlier PNR was released, on allotment of seat from Head Quarter, VIP quota release of seats, in B-2, and that TTE had helped them accordingly.


 The complainant has raised a issue not only of deficiency on their parts of OP, as mentioned above, but also a issue of false pleas taken by railways to say that seats were allotted in VIP Quota, when no one had approached for this quota, as there was no question of this, as the complainants had confirmed ticket in B-3.  The reply of OP-1,2,3, shows further indulging in falsehood by relying on some circular of 19.7.2005, to justify clubbing of seats when a single male VIP, is accompanying with females, to justify change of seats from B-3 to B-2.  The reply further denies that B-3 was not closed from inside, which was factually incorrect.  The reply also took untenable pleas of territorial jurisdiction, despite the clear position in  S-11 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 as relied by Complainant in complaint and rejoinder.


We have considered the complaint in  the light of reply filed.  The Ld. Counsel for Railway wanted to make long submissions, to defend a case in which doctrine of res-ipsa coquitor applies, and it is for OP to explain. The written version has failed to show any communication to complaints about change of bogies and sitting plan, and why bogies B-3 was found locked,  as also release of seats in  B-3 without any one seeking H.O. Quota, for complainant and how the new PNR was created.  The earlier ticket placed at page 29 of the file does not indicate an VIP status.


These facts clearly show an attempt inside the Railways to accommodate  some other persons in place of reserved seats, for complainants for  whatever reasons, resulting in avoidable hardship, inconvenience, humiliation and harassment to complainant, Judges who are not used to such hiccups and inconvenience in the journies during the career.  We hold OP guilty of deficiency and award punitive damages for resorting to falsehood to defend in defensible rather than straight away expressing regrets.


We award a compensation of Rs.50,000/- to the complainants together as a consolidated damages for deficiencies etc.,  and award Rs.10,000/- for litigation expenses. 


The order shall be complied within 30 days from the receipt of the copy of the order; otherwise action can be taken under Section 25 / 27 of the Consumer Protection Act.


Copy of the order be sent to the parties free of cost.


Pronounced in open Court on 17.01.2014







Member                         Member


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