The consumer commission applies a fine of Rs 1 lakh to the company for charging Rs 40 of the traveler with a valid toll pass

NEW DELHI: in the first case of its kind, the apex of the country consumption commission , NCDRC, has imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on a highway toll collection company receivable Rs 40 from a traveler who had a valid monthly pass.

While the company had allowed the traveler to cross the square twice during the day using the pass, he was allegedly arrested when he crossed the square for the third time and was made to pay for the trip.

While marking Kurukshetra Expressway Pvt Ltd for “unfair commercial practice,” a two-member commission bank consisting of Dinesh Singh and SM Kantikar (both members) gave severe caution and ordered him to deposit Rs 1 lakh with the Help account Consumer Legal of the Jhajjar district forum in four weeks.

The bench also upheld the Rs 25,000 compensation to the commuter which the district and Haryana state consumption commission had ordered.

The case dates back to August 11, 2017 when the complainant, Raj Kumar, crossed the toll plaza in Jhajjar-Rohtak Road . On the same day he had crossed the toll plaza twice. But he went to Rohtak around 10 p.m., the toll collector did not allow him to cross the toll plaza without checking the system. He was detained for more than an hour and was also charged the user fee. Kumar had a valid monthly pass, which allowed him multiple passages through the square.

When Kumar took the matter to the district's consumer forum in search of compensation of Rs 2 lakh, the toll company had claimed that the traveler did not show the toll pass since he might not have it. Kumar's lawyer had claimed that his client had searched for the CCTV images of that date, but the company had refused to share the images. The commission had confirmed that the tollbooth operator had illegally charged the fee and ordered compensation of Rs 25,000.

The company challenged him in the state commission and also confirmed the order.

Upon hearing the case, the NCDRC Bank He noted that it was hard to believe that Kumar had not been able to show his monthly pass only on the third occasion. It is not reasonable to accept that on the third occasion he left his toll pass elsewhere and did not present it, the commission noted.

He considered two plausible eventualities. First, the computer system was dysfunctional and, therefore, could not accept the pass. But in that case, the benefit should go to the traveler. The second plausibility was that on the third occasion the pass produced by Kumar was dishonored and the toll collector charged the user fee.

Both contingencies show arbitrariness and arrogance, illicit and illegal enrichment by the petitioner, he said.