Law Insider India

Legal News, Current Trends and Legal Insight | Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Compensation for losing baggage in Railway

8 min read
Mumbai Journalists Train western local Bombay High Court Law Insider

By Adv Rishabh Kumar

Published on: November 25, 2023 at 14:40 IST

It is a very dire situation to lose your luggage while in transit. Losing your belongings while in vacation or during travelling is frustrating and scary. When a baggage is loosed in train railway Yes, you may be eligible for compensatione while traveling on a train in a railway. Railway companies typically have a liability for the loss, damage, or destruction of baggage under their care. However, the specific compensation process and the amount you may receive can vary based on the railway’s policies and the country’s regulations.

The Indian Railways, established in 1853, holds a significant place in the country’s history and has evolved into one of the largest and busiest railway networks globally. Originating with the inauguration of the Bombay-Thane railway line, the railway’s rapid expansion and connectivity initiatives played a crucial role in India’s economic development during the colonial era. Multiple railway companies were established, including the Great Indian Peninsula Railway and East Indian Railway, laying the foundation for the extensive network that exists today.

Post-independence, the Indian government took control of the railways, ushering in a new era of modernization and technological advancement. The railways became a vital lifeline, facilitating the movement of goods and people across diverse regions. With ongoing efforts in electrification, high-speed rail, and dedicated freight corridors, the Indian Railways continues to adapt and innovate, reflecting its commitment to meeting the growing transportation needs of a dynamic and populous nation. Today, the Indian Railways stands as a symbol of connectivity, uniting the vast and culturally rich expanse of India through its extensive and intricate network.

Passengers traveling on trains in railways use various types of luggage to carry their belongings. The types of luggage can vary based on the duration of travel, the nature of the journey, and personal preferences. Here are some common types of luggage used by train travelers:

  1. Compartment luggage

Luggage that can be carried by an individual themselves into the

  1. Free Allowance – Each person is allowed a free allowance which they can carry themselves into the compartment.
  2. Marginal Allowance – Different class of travel have different types of allowances ranging between 10-15 kg.
  3. Brake Van

While there is no restriction on luggage weight and dimension, a small fee is charged to avail the facilities. Bulk surcharge is applicable if it surpasses the weight and dimension scale.

There is also a maximum quantity permitted in the compartment according to the travel class. With AC First class having the highest allowance at 150kg, AC 2nd Class 100kg, AC 3rd Class 40kg, Sleeper 80kg, and Sleeper second class 70kg.

If you’ve lost your luggage while traveling on a train in India, you can follow these general steps to raise a claim for your lost luggage:

  1. Contact the Railway Authorities Immediately:
    • As soon as you discover that your luggage is lost, inform the railway authorities immediately. You can approach the station master, the on-board train staff, or the railway police.
  2. Lodge a Complaint:
    • File a complaint about the lost luggage at the railway station or with the on-board staff. You may need to provide details such as your name, PNR (Passenger Name Record) number, train details, and a description of the lost items.
  3. Obtain a Property Irregularity Report (PIR):
    • The railway authorities will provide you with a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). This report is essential for raising a claim and should be obtained at the earliest opportunity.
  4. Note Down Details:
    • Keep a record of the PNR number, train details, and the details of the lost items. Note down any specific information provided by the railway authorities regarding the follow-up process.
  5. Claim Settlement Process:
    • Check with the railway official website for information on the claims process.
  6. Submit Required Documents:
    • When filing a claim, you may be required to submit certain documents, such as a copy of the PIR, proof of identity, proof of ticket, and a list of items in the lost luggage. Ensure that you have all necessary documents ready for submission.
  7. Provide Details Accurately:
    • When providing details of the lost items, be as accurate as possible. Include descriptions, quantities, and, if available, the approximate value of each item.
  8. Follow Railway Guidelines:
    • Adhere to the guidelines provided by the railway regarding the submission of claims. Some companies may have specific forms to be filled out, while others may require online submissions.

Remember that the process may vary, and it’s crucial to follow the specific guidelines provided by the railway company you traveled with. In some cases, railways may offer compensation based on the weight or value of the lost items, and they may have a specified timeframe within which claims must be submitted.

In the latest update from IRCTC, the Western Railway has introduced a new service named ‘Mission Amanat’ to address the common issue of passengers losing their belongings while traveling on trains. Announced on January 12, 2022, the initiative aims to make it easier for travelers to recover their lost items.

According to recent data, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) under the Western Railway has successfully recovered goods valued at Rs 2.58 crore, belonging to 1,317 railway passengers in the year 2021.

Each year, numerous rail passengers face the challenge of recovering their lost belongings during their journeys. To streamline this process, the Western Railway has introduced Mission Amanat.

This service involves the RPF locating the lost luggage of railway passengers, capturing photos, and providing descriptions of the items on the official website. Subsequently, passengers can identify and claim their belongings by visiting the website.

The Western Railway has emphasized the success of this initiative, stating that goods worth Rs 2.58 crore have been recovered and returned to their rightful owners after due verification. To access this service, passengers who have lost belongings can follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Western Railway website at http://wr.indianrailways.gov.in.
  2. Click on the “Mission Amanat – RPF” tab.
  3. Review the details and photos of the missing items shared by the RPF.
  4. If passengers identify their belongings on the website, they can claim them by providing proof of ownership.

In addition to this initiative, the Western Railway RPF has launched a Covid awareness drive in Mumbai due to the rise in COVID cases. This campaign aims to create awareness among passengers about the importance of following Covid guidelines while traveling by train. Measures include information about the usage of masks, hand sanitizers, and social distancing, with RPF personnel actively involved in spreading awareness. The Western Railways has also collaborated with various NGOs, utilizing pamphlets and banners to further promote Covid safety measures.

To initiate a claim for misappropriation of luggage, you can first raise a claim with the officials present in the location guards, station master, conductor and attendants.

Where value of the luggage booked has not been declared beforehand by the consignor and the prescribing percentage charge not paid the monetary liability of the railways has been limited to Rs. 100/- per Kg.

However, where the consignor has declared the value of the consignment and has also paid percentage charges, he will be entitled to get the claimed amount which will not exceed the value of the luggage so declared at the time of booking . The procedure of payment of percentage charge can be enquired from the luggage booking office.

In the event of theft, dacoity, or robbery formal complaint needs to be lodged, a person need not stay their travel. They can request FIR forms from the guards in the train and submit the same to them. A prescribed FIR Form in English, Hindi and regional Language is available in the Timetable or with ‘TTEs/Guards or GRP escort. After filling it up, the form may be handed over to one of the official viz., TTE, Guard or GRP escort for registration of the report at the next police station. All at the above services and commitments will be honored without the citizens’ having to pay any bribe,

The financial liability is limited to Rs 100 per kg. But as long as the claimed amount doesn’t go beyond the stated value of the luggage at the time of booking, the consignor will be qualified to receive the claimed amount provided he/she has paid percentage fees in addition to declaring the value of the consignment.

  1. File a Complaint: Fill out a lost baggage report at the railway station. Provide detailed information about the lost items, including descriptions, value, and any other relevant details.
  2. Retain Documentation: Keep all travel-related documents, including your train ticket, baggage claim tag, and the lost baggage report. These documents will be crucial when filing for compensation.
  3. Contact Customer Service: Get in touch with the railway’s customer service department. This might involve visiting the station’s customer service desk, calling a helpline, or using online customer service options. You can register your grievances in the Railmadad website. The official website for any grievance related to railway, from lost luggage to any other service deficiency. Link https://railmadad.indianrailways.gov.in/madad/final/home.jsp of the official support site.
  4. Check the Railway’s Policy: Familiarize yourself with the railway’s policy on lost baggage and compensation. This information is often available on their website or through customer service.

The substantive liability of the railway administration for loss, destruction, damage, non-delivery or deterioration of goods entrusted to them for carriage and for death or injuries or loss to a passenger in a railway accident or untoward incident is laid down in The Railways Act 1989.

The consignor/consignees and passengers or their representatives prefer claims for compensation for loss of and damage to, booked goods and are not satisfied with the decisions of the railway administration, file suits in courts of law.

Claims for compensation for death of or injury or loss etc to passengers in train accidents are at present settled by claims commissioners. As the litigation in the courts of law and before the claims commissioners is very protracted, it has been decided to set up a specialized Tribunal for speedy adjudication of such claims. The setting up of such a claims Tribunal with Benches in different parts of the country, and with judicial and technical members, will provide much relief to the rail users by way of expeditious payment of compensation to the victims of rail accidents and to those whose goods are lost or damaged in rail-transit.

Consumer Protection Forum: For any claims to any disputes with any service provided and deficiency arising out of it are delt with by Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the loss of luggage during transit, whether on airplanes or trains, is undoubtedly a distressing situation for travelers. In some cases, railways may offer compensation based on the weight or value of the lost items, and they may have a specified timeframe within which claims must be submitted. Always refer to the official website or contact the railway authorities directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

It’s essential for passengers to be aware of the luggage rules and regulations of Indian Railways, as they may vary based on the class of travel, train type, and other factors. Checking with the official Indian Railways website or contacting railway authorities before the journey can provide the most accurate and up-to-date information on luggage allowances and restrictions.

By Bharti Verma, Associate Editor at Law Insider