Against the backdrop of online ticketing scams, railways is mulling an amendment to the Railways Act, 1989 to include a provision of penalising those committing e-ticketing frauds, sources said. The proposed amendment has suggested a fine of more than Rs. two lakh for the offence, the sources said. The proposal, however, has not suggested an increase in the three year jail term for those convicted.
“Cases of such frauds have been increasing and a need was felt to include a new provision. The new provision has been proposed by the Railway Protection Force. It will involve an amendment to the Act. This has to be approved by the Railway Board,” a source in the ministry said. In one of the biggest railway ticketing scams, the Central Railways on May 2 arrested a man from Mumbai, who allegedly used a fake software to help touts book Tatkal tickets in just a matter of seconds.
With the help of the software, he earned over Rs. 35 lakh a month, they said. In another case exposed in December last year, a CBI official and his companion allegedly manipulated Tatkal ticket reservation system of the railways through an illegal software. They were subsequently arrested. The present act does not envision e-ticket frauds, but does have a provision to punish those touts who illegally sell, purchase or attempts to sell or purchase tickets.
They are punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both, according to the Act. Sources also said that the amended Act will seek to empower the authorised personnel of the RPF, commercial, vigilance departments to deal with cases related to the new provision. Currently those arrested for online frauds are booked under the Information and Technology Act along with relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code. The proposal also includes hike in fines for causing nuisance, specially against women passengers and encroachment of compartments reserved for people with disabilities or women and littering.