BMTC asked to pay 100 times the penalty it levied on hapless lady commuter!

Bengaluru: The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) had to cough up nearly 100 times the penalty it had levied on a senior citizen for no fault of hers. The senior citizen is 61-year-old Manjula, wife of G. Venkatesh Murthy, a resident of Somanahalli in Bengaluru South. She received the compensation after three years.

A Consumer Forum in Bengaluru directed the BMTC to pay Rs. 20,000 to Manjula, stating that the attitude of BMTC officials caused her humiliation and mental agony in front of other passengers.

According to the complaint, Manjula had boarded a BMTC bus from Somanahalli to Chikka Tirupati on Sarjapur Road via K.R. Market (Route No.342) at 5 am on December 28, 2013. Though it was a Saturday, the bus conductor Channe Gowda issued a daily pass for Friday.

Manjula objected to this and told the conductor that it was an old pass and the same is not valid. But the conductor said he was allowed to issue Friday’s pass and ticked the date as December 28. He also told her that nobody would question her.

But while heading to Sarjapur, just before the bus stop arrived, BMTC officials stopped the bus and asked the passengers to show the tickets and passes. When Manjula showed her pass, the officials refused to accept it. She narrated what happened but the officials did not believe her. They then dragged her out of the bus and made her pay  Rs. 400 as penalty. Though she said that she had paid a penalty of Rs. 400, she was given a receipt for only Rs. 220.

An aggrieved Manjula later approached BMTC’s higher authorities against the lapse on the part of the conductor, but in vain. The officials even dismissed a legal notice issued by her. Manjula then moved the Consumer Forum in 2014. “For no fault of hers, she was made to pay the penalty amount.”

This was stated in the November 14 order by the Bangalore Urban II Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum comprising of President T. Shobhadevi and Member V. Anuradha.

BMTC will pay Rs. 20,000 to Manjula, which includes a compensation of Rs. 10,000 and litigation cost of Rs. 10,000. This has to be paid within 30 days from the date of receiving this order.

The respondents in the complaint were conductor Channe Gowda, the Depot Manager at Banashankari Division and BMTC Managing Director.