An Indian lawyer has won a 22-year legal battle with Indian Railways accusing him of overcharging by 20 rupees (21p or 25 cents).
When Tungnath Chaturvedi, 66, bought a ticket to Moradabad at Mathura station in Uttar Pradesh in 1999, was charged Rs 90 instead of Rs 70 . He complained there and then did not receive a refund.
Chaturvedi filed a lawsuit in Mathura Local Consumer Court against Indian Railways’ North Eastern Railway Service, and after 100 hearings, the court ruled in his favour last week, The railway company was ordered to pay 15,000 rupees (£154 or $188), plus 12% interest on the outstanding amount. If the payment is not made within 30 days, the interest will rise to 15%.
The ruling defended Chatovedi, but as he told the BBC: “You cannot afford to pay for the energy and time I have lost on this case.”
This case highlights India’s overloaded court system with around 40 million cases choking the system. We all know that legal cases take 10 to 15 years to come to a conclusion.
Astonishingly, Chaturvedi has persevered on rare occasions, including taking the case directly to the Supreme Court on appeal. The railway court dismissed the case.
His family tried to convince him that it was pointless, a waste of time and money, and he was adamant even though he represented himself and therefore did not have to pay any legal fees. “It’s not the money that matters,” he told the BBC. “It’s always been a fight for justice and anti-corruption, so it’s worth it.”
It was also surprising that the country’s largest employer, Indian Railways, chose to continue with the case.