A train driver in India was persistent and wanted redress for an injustice. He fought in court for 22 years. Now he was right – and 25 cents back.
New Delhi – Anyone who travels a lot with Deutsche Bahn knows the annoyance: delayed trains, defective car doors or complete cancellations. In most cases, you cannot expect compensation from Deutsche Bahn. For many, the effort involved in getting a refund for travel expenses is simply too great. A case from India now proves that it’s not always about the money – but much more about the principle.
Indian sues railway company for 25 cents too little change
Tungnath Chaturvedi has been fighting in court since the late 1990s. And for 25 cents. In 1999, the Indian had bought two tickets at a train station counter. He wanted to drive five hours from his hometown of Mathura to Moradabad in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The tickets cost him 70 rupees at the time. However, when Tungnath Chaturvedi paid with a 100 rupee note, he did not get enough change back. Instead of the 30 rupees, the railway employee handed him only 10 rupees.
Tungnath Chaturvedi was left with 20 rupees, which is about 25 cents today. But the lawyer didn’t want to put up with that and sued the Indian railway company – for 22 years he fought for his change. Now he was right.
For some, 25 cents doesn’t seem worth the hassle. But Tungnath Chaturvedi was never about the money. “It was always about fighting for justice and fighting corruption, so it was worth it,” he told the BBC. For over 22 years he has attended more than 100 hearings. The case lasted more than two decades, among other things, because the Indian judicial system is chronically overloaded. In addition, the Indian railway company tried everything to have the lawsuit dismissed due to formal errors.
After 22 years of litigation: civil court finds Indian railway company guilty
But that didn’t stop Tungnath Chaturvedi. He believed that “even if the fight looks tough, you don’t have to give up,” the Indian told the BBC. His persistence has now been rewarded, a civil court has now agreed with him. The railway company has to pay him back the 20 rupees with twelve percent interest and a fine equivalent to 180 euros.
Even when it comes to the principle – German train travelers would probably not make such an effort. Above all, commuters in the state capital Stuttgart have had to show strong nerves due to the large-scale project Stuttgart 21 in recent years. The chaos surrounding the main route will also continue for a few more years.