A man from Rajasthan’s Kota helped 3 lakh passengers in getting a refund from the Indian Railways by winning a 5-year-long battle to get a Rs 35 refund. Years after the initial case, the Railways has finally sanctioned Rs 2.43 crore in refunds to approximately 2.98 lakh IRCTC users, revealed the Kota-based engineer named Sujeet Swami, said reports.
The battle over a refund
An engineer, from Kota, Sujeet Swami filed nearly 50 RTI applications and sent letters to four government units to get a refund of Rs 35 charged as service tax despite canceling his ticket before the GST regime was enforced. Swami claimed that the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation in its reply to his RTI query said that 2.98 lakh users would get a refund of Rs 35 on each ticket amounting to a total of Rs 2.43 crore.
“My repeated tweets to demand the refund, tagging the PM, Railway minister, Union minister Anurag Thakur, GST Council and the Finance minister played a key role in the approval of refund of Rs 35 to 2.98 lakh users,” said Swami.
According to a report, Swami had booked a railway ticket in April 2017 from his city to New Delhi in the Golden Temple Mail. The ticket priced Rs 765 was booked for July 2, a day after the new GST regime came into force.
He canceled the ticket and received a refund of Rs 665 with a deduction of Rs 100 instead of Rs 65 against the cancellation. The extra amount of Rs 35 was charged to him as service tax even though he had canceled the ticket prior to the implementation of the GST.
According to an RTI reply, the IRCTC mentioning the commercial circular number 43 of the Ministry of Railways, said that for tickets booked before the implementation of GST and canceled after implementation, service tax charged at the time of booking shall not be refunded.
However, another RTI reply stated that it was later decided that for tickets booked before July 1, 2017, and canceled, the total amount of service tax charged at the time of booking shall be refunded.
A refund of Rs 35
Swami received a refund of Rs 35 in his bank account on May 1, 2019, with a deduction of Rs 2 as the rounded-off value of service tax of Rs 35. He decided to continue the fight to get back Rs 2 for three years. The Rs 2 was refunded on Friday last week.
Thank you @IRCTCofficial @AshwiniVaishnaw @RailMinIndia @GST_Council @nsitharaman @narendramodi @ianuragthakur @PMOIndia
Today, I have received refund amount.
This fight for improving system only.
I have donated Rs 535/- in #PMCARES
I wish #GOI will understand my intentions https://t.co/zu8PepDi40
— Sujeet Swami️ (@shibbu87) May 30, 2022
Swami said that a senior IRCTC official told him that “the Railway Board has approved the refund (of Rs 35) to all the users (2.98 lakhs) as the method to deposit refund is underway and all the passengers would slowly receive their refund”.
Meanwhile, IRCTC also requested him to verify his bank details after which Rs 2 was refunded to his account on Monday.
“The fight was really long with around 50 RTIs, letters to the Railways, IRCTC, Finance ministry, and Service Tax department but eventually I am satisfied as all the users with me would receive a refund of Rs 35 amounting to over Rs 2.43 crores,” Swami said.