Lawyer wins 22 year legal battle with railway over 21p

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By William Holmes on


Attended over 100 hearings

Tungnath Chaturvedi — credit: BBC

A consumer court in India has reportedly ruled in favour of a lawyer who was overcharged 20 rupees (21p) by a railway company over two decades ago.

In 1999, Tungnath Chaturvedi purchased two train tickets costing 35 rupees each for a trip from Mathura to Moradabad. He handed over 100 rupees to a ticket-booking clerk who he claimed only gave him 10 rupees in change rather than the 30 he was owed.

Since then Chaturvedi, 66, attended over 100 court hearings in connection with the case.

The railways initially argued that the complaint should be heard in a railway tribunal, a quasi-judicial body that deals with claims related to train travel in India, rather than a consumer court. However, the lawyer says he used a 2021 Supreme Court of India ruling to prove that the matter could be heard in a consumer court.

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Last week, a commercial court put an end to the lawyer’s 22-year “fight for justice”. The court ordered the railways to refund the 20 rupees at 12% interest per year, from 1999 to 2022 to Chaturvedi as well as issuing a fine of 15,000 rupees (£154) that is also to be paid to the Indian lawyer.

Chaturvedi told the BBC: “You can’t put a price on the energy and time I’ve lost fighting this case.”

He claimed that the case took so long because of the inefficiencies in India’s judiciary. But in the end, Chaturvedi notes that “it’s not the money that matters.”

He says that people “can’t get away with wrongdoings if people are prepared to question them,” reaffirming that the case was “always about a fight for justice and a fight against corruption” which made all the trouble he had gone to “worth it.”

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