After 22 Years, Man Wins Court Battle Over 25 Cents

He was overcharged for a train ticket in India in 1999
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2022 12:39 PM CDT
Updated Aug 14, 2022 4:05 PM CDT
After 22 Years, Man Wins Court Battle Over 25 Cents
Trains at New Delhi's main station.   (Getty Images/saiko3p)

Tungnath Chaturvedi says his case should send the message that "one doesn't need to give up even when the fight looks tough." Critics say it's a prime example of why India's court system is so clogged. After 22 years and more than 100 hearings, Chaturvedi has been refunded the 20 rupees—25 cents—he was overcharged by when he bought a train ticket in 1999, the BBC reports. He was also awarded interest, which brought it up to around $3.50, per Metro.

Chaturvedi, a 66-year-old lawyer, took North Eastern Railway, a section of state-owned rail monopoly Indian Railways, to court after he bought two 35-rupee tickets in his hometown of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh and only received 10 rupees in change. The judgment also ordered the rail company to pay him a fine of 15,000 rupees, around $188. He represented himself in court, but the long battle still cost him more than 20,000 rupees in fees, along with hundreds of hours of his time, AFP reports. "You can't put a price on the energy and time I've lost fighting this case," he said Friday.

Chaturvedi said family and friends told him he was wasting his time and urged him to drop the case, but he was determined to fight to the end. The rail company was apparently equally determined to battle it out in court instead of coughing up 20 rupees. "This wasn’t about money but about my rights," Chaturvedi told AFP. "As a citizen, it’s my right to question the arbitrary and corrupt practices of the state or its machinery." (More India stories.)

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