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Justice delayed by three hours and denied proper refreshments, Allahabad High Court judge seeks explanation from Indian railways

When Justice Gautam Chaudhary, an Allahabad High Court judge, was travelling in the Purushottam Express, it got delayed by three hours and the railway officials failed to provide him refreshments. Now, an explanation has been demanded from the railways for the inconvenience caused

AN unpleasant experience of a high court judge travelling in a train has garnered attention for the judge’s slightly over-the-top reaction, but it is no laughing matter.

The current Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government has made railways a point of pride for the regime. Newer, faster trains like the Vande Bharat Express are touted as a symbol of India’s ‘arrival’ on the world stage and a departure from the age-old lack of basic amenities in Indian trains.

In the words of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “In new India, we no longer procrastinate.”

But as The Leaflet has reported earlier, this need for speed is leaving behind basic infrastructural requirements and may also lead to neglect of some trains in favour of others.

The bogie of contempt

In the present case, an Allahabad High Court judge was miffed for not being attended to by government railways police (GRP) personnels while he was on board the Purushottam Express.

Justice Chowdhary was travelling from New Delhi to Prayagraj with his spouse on July 8. The train was late by more than three hours.

On July 14, having received directions from the judge, the registrar of the high court wrote to the general manager, North Central Railways, Prayagraj, asking him to demand an explanation from the concerned officials.

The letter by the registrar states that “in spite of repeated intimation to the travelling ticket examiner (TTE) no GRP personnel were found in the coach to meet the requirements as desired by his Lordship.”

The registrar has also asked to send the explanation submitted by the official back to him so that it can be placed before Justice Dr Gautam Chowdhary for his perusal.

The letter goes on to state that no pantry car workers attended the judge for providing refreshments despite repeated calls. 

Moreover, when the call was made to the pantry car manager Mr Raj Tripathi, the call was not picked up,” the letter reads.

According to the letter, great inconvenience and displeasure was caused to Justice Chowdhary.

It adds that the judge desires that an explanation may be called from the erring officials of the railways, the GRP personnel and the pantry car manager, pertaining to the inconvenience that was caused due to their conduct and dereliction of duty.

The last word

While the judge’s reaction has caused a debate and generated some humour over social media, it may serve as another reminder that the quality of services in the Indian railways remains underwhelming.

Whether this will be treated as a one-off incident of a displeased judge or a call for wider reform remains to be seen.

The Leaflet