Hyderabad: Medak District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has asked Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) to pay Rs 10,000 to a physically challenged man for denying him a reserved seat on a bus.

Complainant Kethavath Deepsing, a resident of Ganeshnagar in Sangareddy district, a physically challenged person, boarded the RTC from Patancheru to Sangareddy in July 2019. But the bus was full and some of the passengers were standing.

The complainant being a fully handicapped person contacted the conductor for providing the seat reserved for the physically challenged. Some people had occupied the reserved seat. The conductor refused to get the seat vacated saying he was busy issuing tickets.

The complainant also submitted that the higher authorities of TSRTC issued circulars for reservation of seats for handicapped persons, but it lacked implementation.

The RTC submitted that the physically handicapped seat and the senior citizen seats were occupied by old-aged passengers and they could not get seats reserved for physically handicapped passengers vacated.

"Buses from Patancheru to Sangareddy ply every 15 minutes and as such the complainant if at all interested to have a seat for his convenience could have boarded some other bus in which physically handicapped and old aged senior seats were available. Not only local buses, but the buses belonging to Karnataka and Maharastra ply from Patancheru station to Sangareddy every 20 minutes," the RTC said.

After hearing the arguments, the commission said no document was submitted by the opposite party to prove its contention.

The commission said that this argument clearly shows negligence and deficiency of the services of the RTC, not considering the condition of the complainant.

The commission also observed that many of the bus seats are earmarked for MLA/MLC/MP/PHC and senior citizens, but the bus crew (driver/conductor/helper, etc.) never bothered to vacate those seats nor kept any strict vigilance on these seats to see that they are offered to people who are entitled to the same.

"It is not enough to print `reserved' in white/red letters, but the driver and the conductor must be trained to implement the circulars. The message must go to the public that the reserved quota of seats in the buses. Circulars should be strictly followed in the buses," said the commission.

The commission said RTC has failed to execute their own circulars properly, therefore the act amounts to negligence and deficiency in service towards the complainant herein.

The commission asked to pay compensation a sum of Rs.10, 000 for causing mental agony and trauma to the passenger. Also, Rs 3000 should be paid as a cost of litigation.

Sumit Jha

Sumit Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with NewsMeter. An alumnus of the University of Hyderabad and Amity University. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also a contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, consumer, health, human interest and data stories. You can follow Sumit on Twitter @sumitjha__

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