legality of service of travelkhana
I see companies like "travelkhana.com" and "merafoodchoice.com" delivering food to passengers in indian railways on their seat at particular stations. Is such a service legal ? it seems to be in direct conflict with railway catering. Does starting such a service need permission from railways/irctc ? or is it that there is any workaround to make such a business legal?. Travelkhana business has been covered in all major news papers and articles so i am sure they have managed to ensure that its legal. I want to know how ?
The services extended by such food delivery websites are in the nature of any agreement which they enter with their customers as soon as their services are availed by the customers, an arrangement which is similar to the present day carriage of goods online. There is nothing under the law which prohibits such services except for the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 which comes into play only in case of adulterated food being served. While these websites do not seem to have entered into any particular service contract with the Railways, there is nothing that bars them from providing such a service. The railway has specific contract for catering services on major train routes and restaurants in its stations but these contracts can in no way be construed to bar third parties from providing specific services to the passengers on the train provided that the said service does not hinder the operation of the train itself.
The agreement that the passengers enter into is given on the website in the form of terms and conditions applicable. Some of the clauses of the agreement include: Definition, information about the service, delivery, payment, refund policy, applicable law etc. One of the most striking and relevant clauses in such agreements is the “Limitation of Liability” clause. These agreements are very carefully worded and provides for almost all the probable circumstances and contingencies which should be taken into account while operating such services. Also, these websites are run by companies which are generally incorporated under the Companies Act 1956.
In addition one can also see: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/railways-to--break-cartels--improve-food-quality/1104159/
Railway Catering Policy, 2010: http://www.iritm.indianrailways.gov.in/uploads/files/1315294207555-Catering%20Policy.pdf
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