On February 21, 2014, Ramila Devi, a resident of Mysuru was travelling along with her family from Bengaluru to Rajasthan. They were on board the Garib Nawaz Express.
Minutes after the train started moving, Ramila picked up her water bottle to have some water. Just then, a man came down from the top berth, grabbed her bag and jumped out of the moving train. According to a report in The Times of India, the handbag that Ramila was carrying contained 488 gms of gold and cash worth Rs 90,000.
Ramila’s husband immediately pulled the emergency chain, which brought the train to a stop. He then informed the Train Ticket Examiner (TTE) of the theft and asked him about the procedure to be followed.
In the petition that Ramila filed before the court, she mentioned that on the advice of the TTE, they continued the journey since the TTE informed them that a formal complaint could be lodged after 30 days of the crime.
Despite several attempts at approaching the police to file a complaint, Ramila and her family got no respite. It was then that they decided to file a formal complaint with the Bangalore IV Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on November 27th, 2014.
If you’re caught in a similar situation while travelling on trains, here’s what you can do:
1. The first thing you must do is to approach the TTE/ coach attendant/ or guards and lodge a complaint.
2. An FIR form will be given to you. Fill it out to the best of your knowledge.
3. This complaint will then be forwarded to the Police Station for investigation.
4. Do remember that you do not need to alter your travel plans to lodge this complaint. The complaint you raise with the TTE will be forwarded to the concerned police station.
5. Furnish a complete list of items that have been stolen. This will help the police.
The online FIR form can be accessed here.
In Ramila’s case, the litigation lasted for over ten months. At the end of it all, she was awarded Rs 4,42,100 and an additional Rs 5,000 towards litigation costs. The judge, while passing the order, criticised Ramila for being careless with her bag and also pulled up the railway authorities for not being stringent with their security measures.
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(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
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