Delhi HC upholds Railways’ Suspension of Catering firm for Safety Violations on Trains

The Delhi High Court has upheld the Ministry of Railways’ decision to suspend Zenith Leisure Holidays Ltd’s empanelment for six months due to safety violations.

The firm was found using LPG cylinders for cooking on board trains, breaching explicit directives by Indian Railways against flame-based cooking in pantry cars.

The High Court’s ruling comes after an incident during the service of the South India ‘Swadesh Darshan’ Train from November 20 to November 28, 2022.

Despite requests for a rake equipped for flameless cooking, Zenith was forced to manage with inadequate facilities, leading to the use of LPG cylinders as a last resort.

This action resulted in a penalty of Rs. 2 lakh and suspension following a surprise inspection in Madurai on November 24, where five gas cylinders were confiscated.

Justice Subramonium Prasad noted the experienced contractor’s responsibility to adhere to safety norms, saying, “The fact that the subject train was running late cannot be an excuse… It is not uncommon in India that trains get late due to several factors and the contractors are prepared for any such eventualities.”

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The court dismissed the petitioner’s argument that they had been unfairly singled out, referencing an action taken report that showed similar penalties imposed on other service providers for comparable breaches.

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