Man waiting for Rs. 35-refund from IRCTC since a year
For nearly a year, a Kota-based engineer has been fighting to get Rs. 35 refund from Indian Railways. Railways wrongfully charged the amount as service tax despite him canceling the ticket before the implementation of Goods and Services Tax. Sujeet Swami booked a ticket in Apr'17 for journey on 2 July (day after GST roll-out) but subsequently canceled it, before GST implementation. Here's more.
Swami booked a ticket from Kota to New Delhi in Golden Temple Mail in Apr'17, for a journey on July 2. As the ticket, priced at Rs. 765, was waitlisted, he canceled it but received only Rs. 665 as a refund.
Sujeet Swami, a 30-year-old MTech, moved a petition in Lok Adalat, which issued notices to Railway Board Chairman, West-Central Railways General Manager, IRCTC General Manager, and Kota Divisional Railway Manager. "The ACJM court of Mahendra Kumar Agarwal, after admitting the petition, issued notice to the respondents in the matter. The next hearing is scheduled on May 28," the petitioner's counsel, Rohit Singh Rajawat, said.
"Rs. 100 were deducted instead of Rs. 65 against cancellation of a waitlisted ticket. I filed an RTI with IRCTC in July last year...and lodged complaint with the IRCTC immediately. I was informed that the amount would be refunded, but to no avail," Swami said.
However, the IRCTC in its reply to the RTI informed the applicant that as per Railways Ministry's commercial circular no. 43, it was decided that for tickets booked in advance before the GST implementation and canceled after the roll-out, service tax shall not be refunded. So, Rs. 100 (Rs. 65 clerical charge + Rs. 35 service tax) was charged against the canceled ticket.
The RTI reply by IRCTC further said that it was later decided that if the tickets are booked before 1 July, '17 and the same ar canceled, in that case, the total amount of service tax charged shall be refunded. "A sum of Rs. 35 will be refunded," the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said in its reply to the RTI query.
Replying to another RTI query by Swami, IRCTC revealed that 9.55 lakh passengers, who booked their tickets before GST implementation and canceled them between 1-11 July, were charged service tax. "Shocking that over 9.55 lakh passengers were charged Rs. 35, which amounts to over Rs. 3.34 crore. Most of the passengers did not even know about it and must have forgotten," Swami said.