Recently a citizen named Ajay Maheshwari, had challenged legality of the Railway Passengers (Cancellation of Tickets and Refund of Fare) Rules, 2015 which deals with cancellation of confirmed railway reservations, the bookings for RAC and Wait-listed Passengers in various trains and claimed that they are violative of Sections 73 and 74 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872.However, Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has turned down a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a citizen charging Railways with fleecing commuters by not refunding charges after cancellation of Tatkal tickets.
In this regard, the division bench noted that the petitioner was unable to point out specific rule, which was to be struck down or which rule was violative of the Indian Contract Act.
Therefore, the High Court dismissed the PIL without going into the merits of the controversy involved, since petitioner-in-person could not answer the relevant questions, touching the challenges to the vires of the Rules. According to the petitioner, Railways had no power to deduct such charges in absence of any such provisions in the law. According to him, the Railways provide Tatkal or premium Tatkal ticket for passengers who purchase it during emergency or at the last moment. However, pricing and refund rules for Tatkal are highly discriminatory and hapless citizens are forced to shell out more money.
The tickets are priced at double the rates of normal tickets and in case of wait-listed Tatkal tickets; the amount is not refunded to the passenger. In the event of the traveller cancelling the Tatkal ticket or skipping the journey, Railways deduct the entire amount.