New Delhi: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been slapped with a fine of Rs 10 lakh by a consumer forum here for selling soft drinks above the maximum retail price (MRP) to two customers. The New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum imposed "punitive compensation" of Rs 5 lakh each in two separate cases against IRCTC, a subsidiary of Indian Railways, and said being a government corporation, "it is not expected to be deficient in such matters and cannot come down to level of private dealers".
"We have considered the case in the perspective of unfair and restrictive trade practices, by a government company who supply food articles to millions of rail users, who in transit cannot protest or have little choice but to avail services at whatever cost. "The IRCTC being a government corporation is not expected to be deficient in such matters and cannot come down to level of private dealers," a bench presided by CK Chaturvedi said.
The forum directed IRCTC to deposit a fine of Rs 10 lakh with the Delhi State Legal Services Authority and also awarded compensation of Rs 10,000 each to the two passengers, Delhi residents Sachin Dhiman and Sharnya. "Keeping in view, the gravity and scale of gain by overcharging in 24x7 Railway operations all over India, we award punitive compensation of Rs 5 lakh to be deposited by IRCTC with Delhi State Legal Services Authority and we award compensation of Rs 10,000 (each) to complainant(s)," it said.
The two complainants had alleged that a retail outlet of IRCTC had sold each of them a bottle of Maaza having MRP of Rs 12 for Rs 15. IRCTC, which handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the railways, was proceeded against ex-parte as no one appeared on its behalf.