A consumer forum has ordered Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) to pay Rs 40,000 to a commuter who suffered a ligament tear in the ankle after the flap of an automated fare collection (AFC) gate at a Metro station unexpectedly rammed him.
On the morning of February 23, 2018, Aiyappa KP of Nagarbhavi was rushing to his workplace. He reached Balagangadharanatha Swamiji Metro Station around 9.30am and swiped his smartcard at the AFC gate. The flaps opened but closed immediately as he was passing through, resulting in Aiyappa falling down and injuring his left leg.
He claimed he had to limp all the way to a hospital with no staff member coming to his aid. Diagnosed with a ligament tear in the ankle, Aiyappa had to miss work for nearly three weeks.
Enraged by the accident and alleged negligence on the part of Namma Metro authorities, Aiyappa lodged a complaint with BMRCL and sent them a legal notice on March 15, 2018. Having received no positive response from them, he approached Bangalore Rural and Urban 1st Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum on June 12, 2019, suing BMRCL’s chief public relations officer for negligence.
The complainant’s attorney furnished his medical records, while BMRCL’s lawyer argued the injury was not caused due to machine malfunctioning but due to the user ignoring the warning to not enter the space and partial swiping of the card. He stated it was an automated machine and not a human error that had caused the accident.
He denied the allegation that Aiyappa was badly wounded and staff failed to attend to him at the station.
The judges examined CCTV footage of the mishap. They saw Aiyappa was knocked down when the gate flap suddenly closed on him, while the flaps of neighbouring bays were open for longer periods despite people passing through.
While Namma Metro authorities said Aiyappa had got a red signal indication, the video showed it was not noticeable to users and after he fell, a staffer had to manually stop the machine. It’s clear that a mechanical failure on the part of Metro authorities resulted in the commuter getting injured, the judges said, calling it a case of negligence.
In a verdict pronounced on October 7, 2020, the judges ruled that Metro’s chief public relations officer must pay Aiyappa Rs 5,000 towards medical expenses and Rs 1,000 per day for the 20 days he was forced to take leave from work due to his injury. The court ordered BMRCL to pay Aiyappa an additional Rs 10,000 towards damages and Rs 5,000 towards court expenses.