The Delhi High Court today dismissed the writ petitions filed by Stelling Technologies, which owns and manages the online train ticket booking portal ‘railyatri.in’ providing service related to rail journeys.
The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation(IRCTC) had cracked whip on the Retail Service Providers(RSP) who were associated with RailYatri by deactivating their access credentials to the IRCTC site.
According to the IRCTC, the services by RailYatri were unauthorized, and the RSPs, by associating with it, had violated their contractual terms with IRCTC.
The IRCTC said that it is the only entity authorized by the Ministry of Railways to supply e-tickets, and that RSPs are delegated agents of the IRCTC, who cannot enter into further transactions with third-party entities such as RailYatri.
Earlier, RailYatri claimed they are the only online platform which facilitates interaction between the customer and the RSP, the authorized agent of IRCTC and that the ticket booking was done by the RSPs using their access credentials.
The site makes ticket booking an easy and pleasurable experience, and offers value added services such as real time position of trains, chances of confirmation of ticket, cab and hotel bookings at different locations etc. It only charges a nominal convenience fee at the rate of 1.25% of the ticket fare, claimed Stelling.
In contrast, IRCTC said they have received complaints from several customers regarding non-receipt of refund after cancellations of tickets booked through RailYatri. In this backdrop, it carried out a probe, which revealed the unauthorized activities of RailYatri, and in this backdrop, the action was taken against the RSPs who were associated with the e-commerce portal.
The single bench of Justice V Kameswar Rao noticed that RailYatri had no contractual agreement with IRCTC and proceeded on the basis that IRCTC has the exclusive right to supply e-tickets.
The Court said, “It is not disputed that the petitioner M/s Stelling which has a platform railyatri.in is neither a PSP nor an RSP and has no privity of contract with IRCTC. No money has been paid by M/s Stelling to IRCTC / PSP to be involved in the process of e-ticket booking or to be integrated in the network initiated / developed by the IRCTC, which according to this Court is a prerequisite to be involved in any manner in the process of e-ticketing and for which integration fee and Annual maintenance fee is required to be paid”.
“it is conceded/admitted by petitioner M/s. Stelling that railyatri.in also accepts money for booking the e-ticket directly from the customer. The fact that M/s. Stelling through railyatri.in is collecting money itself suggests, selling of ticket by it.” court added.
In the end, the court said that Stelling can carry on its business only by fulfilling the conditions of IRCTC. Based on these observations, the writ petitions were dismissed.