Is it that Senior Officers in Railways are protected by the system
against public complaints? One of my complaints seems to somehow give
the same feeling. I present this matter in the form of a long narration,
which many may find boring, many may find worthless and many may find
foolish. I would have no grudge against any such opinion. Let us all
have the freedom to have our own view points, opinions, ways of living
and thought process. But I know for sure that this was the only way that
I could have acted.
I apologize once again for the narration
being a bit too long and I take no responsibility for your wastage of
time and energy, in case you find the narration worthless, boring or
I am pursuing this case for the last about three years
and yet justice seems to eludes me. Thus even after my best efforts, my
complaints against two senior Railways officers does not seem even being
heard and the way the enquiry officers and the other concerned officers
have been behaving so far, it gives an impression of their acting as a
cohort trying to save each other’s skin.
It might be an
outstretched statement on my part but the case related with me being
presented here might be symptomatic with the true facts as regards the
way public complaints are treated there.
The actual incidence
took place around three years ago, on 01/06/2010, when I had gone to the
Gomti Nagar railway station in Lucknow (UP) to get my wife’s ticket
refunded. At that time I was on study leave at IIM Lucknow. There an
officer on the ticket counter was generally misbehaving with almost
every person in the queue and he did the same with me, quite
I got the official mobile number of the DRM of
the North Eastern Railway, Lucknow from one of the railway officers
there and talked to him on his official mobile phone through my mobile
phone from the Gomti Nagar railway station itself, in the presence of
many other persons, at about 1.30 to 2 PM.
I found it
appropriate to present the facts of official misbehaviour to senior
officers in writing. Hence I also wrote a complaint at the railway
station itself and got it signed from five other persons who had also
come there and having also got extremely upset with this officer’s
behaviour, readily agreed to endorse my complaint letter.
went to the DRM Office in Ashok Marg, Lucknow the same day (01/06/2010)
at about 4 PM, met the DRM’s PA and since I had only one copy of the
handwritten complaint, I requested the PA and through got a photocopy of
the complaint letter so as to have it as a record.
I met the
DRM, NER, Lucknow in his chamber exactly opposed to the PA’s room. His
behaviour was not very appropriate. Instead of appreciating the fact
that someone had come forward to bring facts about misbehaviour in the
Railways, he looked at me as an unnecessary intruder. He also used a few
words which were definitely unwarranted. In the end of the conversation
he directed the petitioner to hand over the paper to the Senior DCM,
NER sitting in an adjoining room.
I met the Senior DCM who
took the paper from me and assured that some enquiry would take place in
the complaint being made. Having come back from the DRM Office, I
intimated on telephone a few of the complainants about this fact that I
went and met the DRM, who expressed satisfaction over this.
When no enquiry took place in the matter for about month, I asked some
information from the DRM, NER, Lucknow under the RTI Act through my
letter dated 24/06/2010 (where I also mentioned the fact that he had
handed over the written complaint to the senior DCM on the instructions
of the DRM), then to the First Appellate Authority and finally to the
Central Information Commission through whose intervention I could get
some of the required information.
When nothing happened at the
end of the DRM, NER, Lucknow I wrote letters to the Chairman, Railway
Board, New Delhi on 14/08/2010, 25/09/2010 and 23/12/2010. In all these
letters I made specific complaints about DRM, NER, Lucknow.
Later an officer in Lucknow contacted me saying that a complaint dated
25/09/2010 had been received from the Railway Board that he was
Through my statement dated 09/12/2010 I
clearly reiterated my complaints against the DRM and other senior
officers of the NER, Lucknow Division particularly as regards two
things- (a) His improper behaviour with me as a complaint (b) Their
inaction on the complaint presented by me to them by hand. I also
requested the Enquiry Officer not to take any further action against the
subordinate officer but to deal strictly with the superior ones.
Since the Enquiry officer in the DRM Office, NER, Lucknow was clearly a
subordinate to the DRM, hence despite my specific references, in his
enquiry report he only found the junior officer at the Gomti Nagar
railway station responsible, as would possibly be expected from any
I kept pursuing the matter and later again
after the intervention of the Central Information Commission, I got the
information from the PIO of NER, Lucknow Division through his letter
dated 12/07/2011 that as per the available records, my complaint dated
02/06/2010 is not available in the DRM, NER office.
the first time I came to know that the complaint I had given first to
DRM and later to Ms Senior DCM had actually not been brought on record
and might have been thrown somewhere. Till date I had been thinking that
no action was taken only out of inertia or lethargy but now a third
dimension of disposing of the complaint letter had got added.
This action of such senior officers was a real a shock to me and I wrote
to the Chairman, Railway Board once again on 25/07/2011 requesting him
that I have enough evidence to establish the fact that I had met these
senior officers in their office and hence I wanted an enquiry into the
way firstly there was unwarranted brusque behaviour and later on the
complaint letter was thrown away.
After this I got a letter
dated 16/09/2011 from the GM (Vigilance), Gorakhpur asking me some
information, evidences and witnesses as regards the complaint. The
letter talked about the severity of malacious, veracious and unfounded
allegations, in case it was found so.
I provided all these
information through my letter dated 02/10/2011. In this letter I gave
the name of six witnesses- five already named in the original complaint
letter and a sixth person who had accompanied him to the DRM office.
I did not get any response for long and kept sending many reminder
letters to GM (Vigilance), NER, Gorakhpur Zone but got no response from
Left with no option, I approached the office of the
Railway Minister, Government of India through my letters Dated-
05/01/2012, 13/02/2012 and 20/03/2012. Even then, so far nothing has
happened in this matter.
Then I sent letters dated 03/08/2012,
01/10/2012, 16/11/2012 and 23/01/2013 to the Prime Minister’s Office
which were referred to the Railway Board and other officers but no
action was done.
It is now that finally I have got two RTI
replies from the Railway Board and the GM Office, Gorakhpur which bring
other startling facts.
The RTI reply from Railway Board dated
15/04/2013 says that despite the Railway Board asking the GM, North
Eastern Railways, Gorakhpur again and again (including as regards the
letter dated 30/10/2012 sent by the Prime Minister’s Office) no action
has been taken by the GM, NER. The letter dated 02/04/2013 sent by the
Railway Board to the GM, North Eastern Railways, Gorakhpur says-“NER
were advised for taking appropriate action in the matter and to intimate
the representationist under intimation to the Board’s office. However
no intimation in the matter is received in this office till date.” It
also says-“NER is requested to advise of the action taken in the matter
immediately along with a copy of the reply to the representationist.”
No such intimation has been made to me by the GM, Railways, NER so far,
despite repeated specific directions of the Railway Board.
The RTI Reply from the NER, Gorakhpur brings other disturbing facts. The
related Notesheets state that the matter was already enquired by the GM
Vigilance in the NER. The Enquiry officer found that the railway
officer at Gomti Nagar railway station had actually misbehaved with me
and he was granted a minor penalty.
But as far as the issue
related with the DRM and the Senior DCM being handed over a copy the
complaint and not taking cognizance of it but possibly throwing it away
was concerned, the Enquiry officer seems to have played a partisan role.
The enquiry report said-“Fact is that complaint letter dated
02/06/2010 is not available in the division.” It also said-“Regarding
second allegation, it is gathered that there is no record in the
division which shows or proves handing over of the complaint dated
02/06/2010 to Sr DCM, on the instruction of DRM/LJN on 02/06/2010 when
Sri Thakur claimed to have met DRM. Further the complainant has not
produced/sent any documentary proof of handing over/receiving of said
complaint by Sr DCM or by any other officials.”
report stated-“Therefore, in the absence of any documentary evidence
such type of allegation is difficult to prove on later date.” The
enquiry officer said that since anyway the misbehaviour of the junior
officer has been punished hence “the major issue of complaint” is over.
The enquiry officer based his enquiry report on the statement of two
officers- the Personal assistants of the DRM and the Senior DCM who
“denied about receiving any such complaints”.
the Enquiry officer himself agreed that-“Therefore Sri Thakur may have
met DRM and handed over the said complaint dated 02/06/2010 to Sr
DCM/LJN and other officials, but in the absence of any evidence, the
second allegation is not substantiated.”
Hence the enquiry officer recommended for closure of the case, which was agreed upon by senior officers in NER.
It is at this stage that a very large number of issues arise-
(a) Why was the original complaint presented before the DRM and the
Senior DCM not enquired into, till the time the matter was not finally
taken up by on my complaint to the Railway Board? (b) Why did the
Railway Board not take into account the fact that the complaint was
against the DRM and the Senior DCM and hence it should not be enquired
by the same Division where these officers were posted? (c) Why was
the enquiry of the complaint handed over to a much junior officer than
the DRM and the Senior DCM, against whom the complaints had also been
made? (d) Why did the Enquiry officer in Lucknow Division not
comment on the fact that the complainant had made complaints against DRM
and the Senior DCM as well and thus he was not competent to enquire
into the matter? (e) Why did the Enquiry officer not make any final
comments about the DRM and the Senior DCM in the entire episode despite
the petitioner making specific allegations against them in his statement
to the enquiry officer dated 09/12/2010? (f) Why did the Railway
Board keep silent as regards complaints against the DRM and the Senior
DCM till the time the complaint was actually made to the PMO and the PMO
asked the Railway Board to make an enquiry? (g) Was the Enquiry officer who finally made this enquiry actually senior in rank to the DRM and the Senior DCM or not? (h) Why did the Enquiry officer keep the matter pending for long? (i) Why did the Enquiry officer not take my statement during enquiry?
(j) When the Enquiry officer asked me to provide names of witnesses and
other evidences and the petitioner provided these facts to the enquiry
officer, why did he choose to ignore all these facts and why did he not
think it proper to talk to any of the witnesses? (k) Why did the Enquiry Officer or the GM, NER not provide the Enquiry report to me as was expected by the Railway Board?
(l) Why did the Enquiry Officer or the GM, NER not provide the Enquiry
report even to Railway Board as was expected by the Board? (m) Why
was the basic fact not taken into consideration that I had presented
this fact of having met and handed over the complaint to the DRM and
Senior DCM as early as on 24/06/2010 through my RTI Application to the
DRM Office? (n) Why was the basic fact not taken into consideration
that I had presented this fact of having met and handed over the
complaint to the DRM and Senior DCM as early as on 14/08/2010 to the
Chairman, Railway Board when nothing seemed to be happening in the DRM,
NER, Lucknow office? (o) Why was the basic fact that if a person
was incessantly making a specific complaint against two senior officers,
then there must be some truth and some reason in it, not taken into
consideration while deciding this issue? (p) When I could actually
present a copy of the original hand-written complaint he had presented
to the DRM and the Senior DCM, why was this fact ignored? (q) If I
was going on incessantly making the same complaint, either some specific
motive should have been assigned for such complaint and suitable action
initiated against him for vexatious and unfounded complaint as stated
in the GM (Vigilance) letter dated 16/09/2011 should have been taken or
my statement should have been admitted. But why did the enquiry officer
choose a third option of concluding that I might have met the DRM etc
but in the absence of any evidence, the allegations were not
substantiated? (r) Why did the concerned officers not give me any opportunity to produce the desired evidence?
(s) When the issue itself was as regarded throwing away of the
complaint, how could the enquiry officer say that since there was no
documentary evidence of the complaint being there in any records, hence
it could be concluded that it was never actually handed over? (t) Why were the DRM and the Senior DCM never asked/queried about their alleged role?
Presenting all the above facts, I have again sent a letter to the PMO
and the Railway Ministry. The issue is not to get the officers punished.
To be truthful, I have nothing personal against them. The issue is only
as regards Justice. The issue is as regards the way transparency and
accountability are in actual operation in our Governance.
issue is also about the fact that while no one hesitated to take a
strict action against the officer on the railway station because he was a
junior officer and imposed a harsh action against him, the entire
Railway bureaucracy seems to have flocked together dividing not to
listen to my complaint, so that their senior officers don’t get punished
for trifle charges- giving him benefit of doubt in all possible ways.
The only problem is that on the other hand, I am equally determined to
get justice in this case because I can’t take the fact that while a
subordinate officer got immediately punished, two senior officers are
being saved at all levels, and for this purpose, even the basic norms
and principles of judicious and just enquiry process seem being
I know this might be a still longer journey
and there is also a great possibility of no action ever being taken on
my complaint, on one of many grounds.
But without thinking of the
end result and without having anything personal against these officers,
as a matter of fact, I will go on pursuing the issue till the time
either it gets closed or it reaches its logical end.