How one man’s fight to get Rs 35 refund for canceled tickets helped thousands of travelers

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Sujeet Swami’s five-year battle that saw nearly 50 RTI (Right to Information) applications and a slew of letters to four different government departments finally came to fruition when he won it. The Kota-based man, who was seeking a Rs 35 refund from the railways, finally won it after five years when the railways approved the same. But that was not the end of the journey, as Swami in the process helped another three lakh people get their Rs 35 refund for their train tickets from the railways.

The railways have approved refunds of Rs 2.43 crore to 2.98 lakh IRCTC users, Kota-based engineer Sujeet Swami said, citing an RTI response received by him, according to a PTI report. He said he had to file around 50 RTI claims and send letters to four government departments to recover the Rs 35 he had been charged as service tax, even though he had canceled his tickets before the implementation of the GST system.

The 30-year-old also said the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, or IRCTC, in its response to his RTI query, said 2.98 lakh users – many of whom might have brought multiple tickets – would get a refund of 35 rupees on each ticket. amounting to a total of Rs 2.43 crore.

“My repeated tweets demanding reimbursement, tagging Prime Minister, Railways Minister, Union Minister Anurag Thakur, GST Board and Finance Minister played a key role in endorsing the reimbursement of users from Rs 35 to 2.98 lakh,” Swami said. PTI.

The Kota-based man had booked a train ticket priced at Rs 765 from his city to New Delhi in the Golden Temple Mail in April 2017 to embark on a journey on July 2, a day after the new regime took effect of GST. However, he had canceled the ticket before the introduction of the GST scheme, following which he received a refund of Rs 665 with a deduction of Rs 100 instead of Rs 65 against the cancellation. He said he was charged the additional Rs 35 as service tax even though he canceled the ticket before the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

So began the battle of Swami, who was told in an RTI response by the IRCTC that he would not get the Rs 35 back. stated that there would be no refunds for reserved tickets. before the implementation of the GST and canceled after the implementation.

However, in another response from RTI, it was stated that it was later decided that for tickets booked before July 1, 2017 and canceled the full amount of service tax charged at the time of booking would be refunded. “Thus, a sum of Rs 35 will be refunded,” the IRCTC had said in its response to Swami’s RTI request. “However, I received 33 rupees in my bank account on May 1, 2019 with a deduction of 2 rupees as rounded value of the service tax of 35 rupees,” Swami said.

He did not leave the battlefield there and clung to his rights to receive the Rs 2 for the next three years. The fruit finally reached him two weeks ago. According to Swami, a senior IRCTC official informed him that “The Railway Commission has approved the refund (of Rs 35) to all users (2.98 lakhs) while the process of depositing the refund is in progress and all passengers would gradually receive their reimbursement”.

“It was a very long fight with about 50 RTIs, letters to the railways, IRCTC, Ministry of Finance and Department of Service Taxes, but ultimately I am satisfied as all users with me would receive a reimbursement of 35 rupees amounting to more than 2.43 crores,” Swami said. .

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