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Man overcharged 21p by train firm in 1999 wins refund after 22-year court battle

A man has come out victorious after a 22-year-long legal battle after a train company overcharged him by 21p.

Indian lawyer Tungnath Chaturvedi was finally refunded the paltry amount plus two decades' interest – meaning his total reimbursement was £2.90.

Though currently at 12%, the interest rate will rise to 15% if the train company fails to pay up in time, the Mirror reports.

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The court also ordered the repayment of 15,000 rupees in compensation for the trouble, which in pounds comes to £154.

Chaturvedi paid 20 rupees too much for a ticket from Mathura to Moradabad in 1999 – 22 years ago.

He handed over 100 rupees for two tickets that cost 35 a pop and should have been given 30 rupees in change, but instead only got 10, despite his protestations.

Since then he has attended a number of courts hearings to try to secure his refund.

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He said: "I have attended more than 100 hearings in connection with this case. But you can't put a price on the energy and time I've lost."

And though he has now emerged victorious, Tungnath explained the compensation wasn't adequate for the time and effort he spent on the case or the money it cost him.

The case was further delayed after hearings were postponed thanks to judges going on holiday and the slow pace of the Indian judicial system.

And despite his family telling him to give up, Chaturvedi wasn't willing to give in.

"It's not the money that matters. This was always about a fight for justice and a fight against corruption, so it was worth it," he said.

"Also, since I am an advocate myself, I didn't have to pay money to a lawyer or bear the cost of travelling to the court. That can get quite expensive."

North East Railway, the company behind the mistake, was ordered to pay up more than two decades after the incident after a railway tribunal initially dismissed the case.

It went all the way to India's Supreme Court, where it was decided the case would be eligible for a consumer court, which deals specifically with consumer disputes.

North East Railway attempted to dismiss the case, but was unsuccessful.

Chaturvedi said: "One doesn't need to give up even when the fight looks tough."

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