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THE LOOPHOLES IN INDIAN RAILWAY TICKET CANCELLATION SYSTEM

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Indian Railways prioritizes early completion of Railway Track projects

This is an article that discusses how the cancellation fees policy of the railway which was made for the convenience of the passengers is working with good efficiency, however, there are many instances where certain loopholes are created which will easily go unnoticed unless we find ourselves in that situation. From deciphering the refund policy to finding possible situations about the same, the article has tried to cover all the possible solutions and loopholes which is eventually reducing the efficiency of railway online ticket cancellation. This article which is written by Ketan Aggarwal a student of National Law University Lucknow will place forward many hypothetical situations and reasoning so that we can understand these loopholes and find equitable solutions.

I. INTRODUCTION

A week before I was planning to travel from my college to my home city through the Indian railways. I have my tickets booked in the 2nd AC but it was on Waitlist number (2) two. This means that if (two) 2 people doing the same journey from this train cancels their ticket then only I am eligible for this ride. After researching again and taking help from my friends I was finally able to get a confirmed ticket for a different train doing the same journey. Now feeling relieved I then went to the IRCTC website to cancel my waiting ticket. Seems fair enough? But the thing that makes me furious is I had been charged cancellation fees just for canceling a waiting ticket which is not even confirmed.! This makes me realize to jump into the Indian railway cancellation policies and write something out of it.

There is almost every person in this country who have once in his lifetime has traveled and reached his destination through Indian railways, With around 22,593 active trains (9141 freight and 13,452 passengers) with a daily passenger count of 24 million people and 203.88 million tonnes of freight, India has the world’s fourth-biggest railway network. This ultimately means that a huge number of people also cancel their booked tickets because of the many reasons, but several questions revolve around one’s mind and where railways have certain loopholes like, what happens If I cancel my waiting list ticket? Am I eligible for a refund if I cancel my tatkal ticket? etc. now let us dwell upon them deeply and find out how these loopholes are ultimately impacting the efficiency of railways.

II. CANCELLATION POLICY

The cancellation charges in railways are governed by The Railway Passengers (Cancellation of Ticket and Refund of Fare) Rules, 2015For all classes, prepaid rail tickets may now be purchased 120 days in advance.

According to IRCTC, this reservation period (ARP) does not include the day of the train’s departure. Second, according to IRCTC, E-tickets (online tickets purchased through the IRCTC portal) can be canceled online until the chart is generated.

On railway counters, e-ticket cancellations will not be possible. In addition, the refund will be refunded to the account used to purchase online tickets (after the deduction of applicable cancellation charges).

The amount deducted is determined by the time of cancellation and the state of the train ticket at the time of cancellation, according to IRCTC.

  1. If a confirmed ticket is canceled online more than 48 hours before the train’s scheduled departure, the following are the minimum per person flat cancellation costs for the ticket
    1. class:
  • For AC first-class or executive class, Rs 240 will be deducted.
  • For AC two-tier or first class, Rs 200 will be removed.
  • For AC three-tier, AC chair vehicle, or AC 3 economy class, Rs 180 will be removed.
  • For sleeping class, Rs 120 will be deducted.
  • For the second class, a fee of Rs 60 shall be determined.
  1. If you cancel a booked ticket within 48 hours and up to 12 hours before the train’s planned departure, you will be charged 25% of the fee.
  2. If you cancel a confirmed ticket between 12 hours and four hours before the train’s planned departure, you will be charged 50% of the amount paid.
  3. Tickets purchased online (E-tickets) cannot be canceled once the chart is produced which is Four hours before the departure of the train.
  4. If your train is canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, e-tickets will be automatically refunded. There will be no need to file a TDR or a ticket deposit receipt.

Waiting List Ticket Cancellation Charges:

Clerkage Charges, which are virtually routinely applied to all Waitlisted Tickets of reserved classes at Rs 60/- per head (excluding 2S Class, where it is Rs 30/- per head), are known as Clerkage Charges. In the case of AC and FC classes, however, GST is applied.

Interestingly, when RAC / Reservation Against Cancellation tickets are canceled, the same Clerkage Charges are charged from the fee, even if a space occurs on the train (due to passengers not turning up).

Moreover according to Railway Board letter No. TCII/2003/2015/Refund Policy Paragraph 11Section A—” There should be no refund of fare shall be admissible on confirmed Tatkal Tickets”.

III. LOOPHOLES

WAITING LIST & CANCELLATION

This Policy looks customer-friendly which is providing a refund for canceling the tickets even before 6 hours of Scheduled Departure however small in percentage. However, this policy has certain loopholes which will easily go unnoticed unless we find ourselves in that situation. Let’s take hypothetical examples for all the situations.

If a customer purchases a ticket and it is confirmed at the time of cancellation, the railway charges a cancellation fee. Okay, it’s reasonable. However, when a passenger cancels a waiting list ticket, the railway then also charges a cancellation fee. Imposing a cancellation fee on tickets on the waiting list is completely irrational and unjustified.His ticket cancellation grounds might include, for example, the knowledge that if he purchases tickets for other trains, he may receive a confirmed ticket or a ticket with a shorter waiting time. Perhaps he does not have the time to wait for confirmation of his ticket, is in a hurry, and wants to organize a different route or mode of transportation. Imposing a cancellation fee under such circumstances is not a just cause from the side of railways.

TATKAT TICKET & CANCELLATION

After this let us come to the Tatkal Ticket Scenario, As we already know railway does not even provide a 1% of refund for the cancellation of a tatkal ticket and keeps itself 100% of the amount with itself as a cancellation charge, It requires people to keep their tickets even if they are unable to travel or have abandoned their journey.

As they are not getting anything, users do not cancel the ticket (refund). As a result, anyone on the 1,2,4,5, or any other waiting list will not be able to receive a confirmed ticket and will be unable to travel. As a result, it is an issue for the user. The regulation of not issuing a refund is unreasonable. Any proportion of fare, such as 25% of the ticket fee, should be refunded by the railway.

So, here’s how it goes: You bought a tatkal ticket, but your plans changed, and you won’t be able to get your money back anyhow, so you don’t bother canceling it (waste of money and time if you go and cancel it as you will not get anything over it). But because of this, any other passenger who is on the Tatkal waiting list will not be able to make up his journey because his ticket still shows that the seat is on waiting and in reality the still be vacant throughout the journey.

IV. CONCLUSION

The IRCTC cancellation policy is passenger-friendly and in all possible cases the Railway provides Compensation to the fellow passenger who cancels his journey because of any reason, but as we highlighted and dwell upon these possible situations, where no compensation is provided or cancellation fees are levied upon passengers without any just cause.

The contention about the cancelation of the Tatkal Ticket can be removed if we can find some alternative to it. One alternative for the Indian Railways is that some advantage should be provided to the fellow passenger who wishes to cancel a Tatkal ticket because their plans have been canceled, even if it is minor. For example, offer them a 25% – 40% return on the booking price. Giving only 25% to the person who is canceling his Taktak ticket will ultimately benefit everyone involved in this circle. The next person who is on tatkal waiting will get his seat confirmed and the railway will be getting 100% ticket price from him which they never receive if they don’t pay compensation to the earlier person canceling his ticket.

With demand, railways can fill any number of seats at any time, so why not make the most of it? I believe our Railway Minister is aware of this and is negotiating a return for tatkal cancellations. I’m hoping it sees the light of day soon.

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