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Remove malpractices in booking/cancellation of railway tickets by Parliamentarians: CIC to Railway Board
It refers to CIC-verdict dated July 6, 2016 in appeal-number CIC/VS/A/2014/001250/BJ wherein Central Information Commissioner recommended the Railway Board to take steps to remove existing malpractices in the process of ticket-booking and cancellation by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members.

It asked the public authority to revisit the present practice being followed and strengthen its systems to ensure that the larger public interest gets protected, also advising the Railway Board Chairman to consider institutionalizing a mechanism in this respect so that the public is not put to any inconvenience.

Presently booking is always shown full especially in first-class air-conditioned coaches because Parliamentarians usually make priority multiple reservations without caring to cancel these in case of non-travel.

Officials of the Indian Railways, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha secretariats also admitted that payment for reserved rail-accommodations of Parliamentarians was made from public-exchequer even in cases of Parliamentarians not actually travelling. 

During the CIC-hearing, the railway officials made a shocking revelation about some mischievous elements making multiple bookings in the name of Parliamentarians at times even without their knowledge. This reminds of infamous LTC scam involving the facility provided to Parliamentarians.

The Railway Board must incorporate proper system ensuring that Parliamentarians can book tickets only through online reservation system to avoid mischievous elements making multiple/fraud bookings in their names.

The Board should adopt a system whereby a travelling Parliamentarian may be required to submit his/her identity proof apart from filling a form confirming that he/she has actually travelled against the reserved accommodation. These forms may be submitted to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats while claiming the reimbursement.

A copy of such travel-certificate may also be provided to travelling Parliamentarians for submitting it directly to Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha secretariats in case of need when railway-authorities may somehow not be able to send these to Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha secretariats.

Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats may be required to deduct cost of amounts paid to railway authorities from pay/pensions of concern parliamentarian(s)/ex-parliamentariansif they neither travel nor cancel their reservation. Such a system can only generate a sense of responsibility among Parliamentarians that they should cancel their rail-reservation in case of change in travel-plan.

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