High Court Backs Railways: Catering Firm Suspension Stands for Safety Breaches

The Delhi High Court has recently affirmed the Ministry of Railways’ decision to suspend Zenith Leisure Holidays Ltd’s empanelment for a period of six months due to safety violations. This verdict follows the firm’s utilization of LPG cylinders for cooking aboard trains, contravening explicit directives issued by Indian Railways against flame-based cooking in pantry cars.

The court’s ruling stems from an incident occurring during the service of the South India ‘Swadesh Darshan’ Train between November 20 and November 28, 2022.

Despite requests for a rake equipped for flameless cooking, Zenith was compelled to make do with inadequate facilities, ultimately resorting to the use of LPG cylinders. This action incurred a penalty of Rs. 2 lakh and led to suspension following a surprise inspection in Madurai on November 24, where five gas cylinders were seized.

Justice Subramonium Prasad underscored the contractor’s obligation to uphold safety norms. He mentioned that the fact that the subject train was running late cannot be an excuse, as it is not uncommon in India that trains to get late due to several factors. The contractors are prepared for any such eventualities.

The court’s decision serves as a stern reminder of the paramount importance of compliance with safety regulations within the railway catering industry, prioritizing passenger safety above all else.

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About the Author: Payal Singh