Train travel company RailYatri is seeking a licence from the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to carry out railway bookings, reports Inc42. On April 5 the Delhi High Court had ruled that RailYatri’s services were unauthorised after IRCTC filed a complaint against it, LiveLaw reported (read the full judgement here). The company, which provides information about train bookings, routes and platforms details, is backed by Infosys co-founder and former UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani, Omidyar Network, Helion Ventures, and other well-known angel investors.
IRCTC’s legal battle with RailYatri
In 2017, IRCTC filed a complaint against RailYatri, alleging that it was providing bookings and meals on trains illegally, the LiveLaw report said. IRCTC said the company was not registered with it as a principal service provider (PSP) or a retail service provider (RSP). PSPs are companies appointed by IRCTC to sell train tickets; each has several hundred RSPs working for it. Every RSP has a unique identification number to access IRCTC. RailYatri, IRCTC said, worked with RSPs to connect customers to IRCTC’s network using the RSP’s credentials, and charged customers a nominal access fee.
IRCTC said it was the only entity authorised by the Ministry of Railways to sell e-tickets, and that RSPs were delegated agents, who could not transact with third-party entities such as RailYatri. It also told the court that many of the firm’s customers had complained about not getting refunds for cancellations. Stelling Technologies, which owns RailYatri, claimed that it was only an online platform that facilitated interaction between the customer and the RSP. But the court ruled in IRCTC’s favour, saying, “[RailYatri] is neither a PSP nor an RSP and has no privity of contract with IRCTC. No money has been paid by Stelling Technologies to IRCTC to be involved in e-ticket booking or to be integrated in the IRCTC network, which according to this Court is a prerequisite… and for which integration fee and annual maintenance fee is required to be paid.”