In the present post we’ll read about direction issued by District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) to refund for suspending the valid bus passes without any notice and compelling the complainant to purchase a fresh bus ticket.

Background Facts:

OP Verma, a resident of Sector 21, approached the commission after he was allegedly forced to buy a ticket by a bus conductor despite having a valid bus pass.

In his complaint, the 65-year-old claimed that he was issued a local pass for AC buses by the CTU after paying Rs 2,430. The pass was valid for six months from December 23, 2019 to June 22, 2020.

On June 9, 2020, when he boarded a non-AC CTU bus from Sector 21 market to Housing Board chowk, Mani Majra, for getting his new spectacles, the conductor asked him to buy a ticket. He said when he showed him a valid bus pass the conductor refused to accept it and insisted on purchasing a ticket.

Verma said the doctor had prescribed him new spectacles after he had undergone a surgery for a cataract in right eye.

On being asked, why the pass was not being recognised, the conductor replied that as per instructions issued by the CTU, bus passes were suspended due to spread of coronavirus.

Verma said that when he demanded a copy of any such notification/instructions, the conductor expressed his inability to produce the same. However, he again insisted on purchasing a ticket.

Left with no other option, Verma had to purchase a ticket for Rs 20.

Alleging that the act amounts to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice on the part of the CTU, Verma filed the complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

 Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) Arguments:

The CTU in its reply before the commission claimed that it was following the pandemic guidelines strictly, and that the complainant had boarded a non-AC bus and did not present the pass and purchased a ticket.

If he had presented the pass, the conductor would have de-boarded him from the bus because senior citizens were not allowed to travel due to pandemic as per the guidelines issued by the government, the CTU claimed.

Pleading that there was no deficiency in service on their part, a prayer has been made for dismissal of the complaint.

District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Order:

After hearing both the sides, the commission noted that persons above 65 years of age were only advised to stay home, except for essential and health purposes.

In the present case, the complainant had undergone eye surgery and had to travel for getting new spectacles which is admittedly an essential health purpose. Hence, the act of the CTU in suspending the valid bus passes without any notice and compelling the complainant to purchase a fresh bus ticket amounts to deficiency in service and unfair trade on their part.

Not accepting the valid bus pass without prior notice had cost Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU).

In view of this, the CTU is directed to refund an amount of Rs 20 towards the cost of ticket and pay Rs 1,000 as compensation for deficiency in service and another Rs 1,000 as litigation expenses.

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