Having a wait-listed Railways ticket is a gamble—especially if it is an e-ticket. With trains running at full capacity most of the time, getting a confirmed reservation is very difficult, and so far, a ‘waiting list’ e-ticket would be automatically cancelled when the final chart was prepared before the train’s departure.
However, the Railways will now take measures to ensure that such wait-listed passengers do not face more inconvenience than necessary.
According to a report in News18, those with e-tickets may now get the option to board the train and claim an empty berth, if those with confirmed seats decide to not show up. This move was earlier restricted to only those with physically printed tickets.
The change is the result of a 2014 High Court judgement on a petition filed by Advocate Vibhas Kumar Jha, which asked the Ministry to abolish the discrimination between physical paper-ticket holders, and e-ticket holders.
The High Court suggested that the Railways stop automatically cancelling the ‘waiting’ e-tickets of passengers when the final chart was displayed. The Court then gave passengers the option to go to the station, board the train and claim the empty seats of those passengers who had reserved seats but didn’t show up.
The order also stated that there was no provision in the law, which gives the holders of a physically printed ticket, an upper hand. Hence, those with e-tickets, should not be discriminated against. Earlier only those with physically printed tickets could board the train if they were on the ‘waiting’ list, to try and find a berth.
The Railways had filed an appeal against the judgement in the Supreme Court, but the Apex Court dismissed the appeal as the Railways’ lawyer was a no-show.
It is now up to the Railways to now come up with ways to remove differences between the validity of e-tickets and tickets in a physical form. Also, the Railways must now conceptualise a plan to ensure that touts and agents do not block seats in bogus names, only to sell them to wait-listed passengers, and charge them a premium.
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Well, taking a chance might not be the most prudent thing to do, especially if you are travelling in a group. However, if you do, be rest assured that you might get a seat.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)