We all have been upset by bad condition of toilets in Indian trains. One reason is that they stink. But Gurudarshan Lamba, who was travelling from Delhi to Durg (Chhattisgarh) in the A-1 coach of the Samta Express, had to face an embarrassing situation.
When Lamba needed to use the toilet, he went and bolted the door. But he was shocked when another person opened the door from outside while he was still inside.
“I was shocked to find that the door had opened despite my locking it. As it turned out, the latch on the door was defective.”
Taking serious cognizance of the issue, Lamba, through his lawyer, lodged a complaint with the railway authorities.
He also filed a case against Indian Railways with the consumer forum – seeking compensation for the negligence that had caused him such mental agony.
However, the railways officials disagreed with Lamba’s plea. Their counsel said, “None of the passengers on the A-1 coach lodged a complaint. His contention is baseless.”
The Railways argued that Lamba could have used any of the other three lavatories on the coach if this one suffered from a faulty door.
But the judge of the Durg district consumer redressal forum in Chhattisgarh, Maitriya Mathur, pulled up railways for lack of usable amenities for the passengers even after charging heavy amount for reservations.
The judge ordered Railways to pay Lamba Rs.1.50 lakh as compensation and Rs.10,000 in litigation costs.
“A non- functional toilet door lock amounts to deficiency in service and gross misconduct leading to the mental distress of the passenger,” said the judge.