Senior citizen gets justice after 5-year legal battle

Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, July 20

Finally, senior citizen Sher Singh (84), chairman of the Northern Railway Pensioners’ Welfare Association, has won the legal battle against the railways after five years for getting re-imbursement of bills worth Rs 29,000.

Interestingly, Sher Singh did not hire the services of any lawyer and pursued the matter from the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Ludhiana, upto the National Consumer Commission.

He said he had to undergo an operation for hernia in emergency from a private hospital. Thereafter, he submitted his bills worth Rs 29,000 to the railway department for reimbursement. But the railway authorities denied him claim.

Aggrieved with the decision of the railways, he moved a complaint against the Chief Medical Officer, Divisional Railway Manger etc. with the District Consumer Forum. The railway authorities took stand that there was no emergency for undergoing the operation from a private hospital and the same treatment was available at the railway hospital. It was pleaded by them that as per rules, when the treatment was available at the railway hospital, he was not entitled for any claim, as treatment was taken from a private hospital. Due to lack of knowledge, he could not convince the Forum and his complaint was dismissed.

Thereafter, he moved an appeal before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, which was also dismissed. Then he moved to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, which remanded back the matter to the local Consumer Forum.

The National Commission directed on February 16, 2018, to verify that if the operation of hernia was conducted in emergency or not. In pursuance of that order, the District Consumer Forum summoned the relevant record from the Khosla Hospital. After perusing the record, the Forum gave the finding that the operation was done in emergency.

The Forum ordered to reimburse the medical bills with compensation of Rs 5,000. Instead of paying the claim, the railway officials preferred an appeal before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Chandigarh.

The commission dismissed the appeal of the railway department on February 1, 2019, with directions to release the amount of Rs 17,000 deposited by the railways at the time of filing appeal. The said amount was released to him. Now after more than four months, the railways has paid him the balance payment.

The case

Senior citizen Sher Singh had to undergo an operation for hernia in emergency from a private hospital. Thereafter, he submitted his bills to the railway department for reimbursement. But the railway authorities denied him claim.

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