The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) plays a pivotal role as the primary operator overseeing ticketing operations for Indian Railways. Its established framework of rules and guidelines for ticket cancellations forms a critical aspect of travel. Having a clear grasp of these policies becomes instrumental for travellers, enabling them to efficiently navigate the refund process. Below is an in-depth breakdown of the fundamental cancellation and refund policies applicable to IRCTC train bookings outlined by Sripad Vaidya, the co-founder and COO of ConfirmTkt.
Cancellation Charges for Confirmed Tickets: Cancellation charges for confirmed e-tickets vary based on the ticket class and time of cancellation, particularly when cancelled over 48 hours before the scheduled departure. For instance, charges amount to Rs 60 for Second Class, ?200 for AC 2 Tier/First Class, Rs 180 for AC 3 Tier/AC Chair Car/AC 3 Economy, Rs 120 for Sleeper Class, and Rs 240 for AC First Class/Executive Class. It's essential to note that no fare refund is permissible for confirmed reservation e-tickets if the ticket is not cancelled or if a Ticket Deposit Receipt (TDR) is not filed online up to four hours before the train's scheduled departure. Similarly, for RAC e-tickets, no fare refund is allowed if the ticket is not cancelled or if a TDR is not filed online up to thirty minutes before the train's scheduled departure.
Cancellation Charges Within 48 to 12 Hours: When cancellations occur within the window of 48 to 12 hours prior to the scheduled departure, the charges are calculated at 25% to 50% of the e-ticket fare, considering the higher value between these percentages or the minimum flat rate specified earlier. This means that travellers will be charged a percentage of the ticket fare as cancellation fees, depending on the time frame of cancellation. The applicable fee will either be 25% or 50% of the e-ticket fare, determined by which of these amounts is greater, or it might equate to the previously mentioned minimum charge.
Cancellation after Chart Preparation: After the preparation of the train's chart, which generally occurs a few hours before its departure, the cancellation of e-tickets becomes unavailable. In such instances, passengers are advised to initiate an online ticket deposit receipt (TDR) procedure through the IRCTC website or app. It's crucial to note that if confirmed reservations are not cancelled or a TDR is not filed online up to four hours before the train's scheduled departure, no refunds are applicable. This emphasizes the importance of taking the necessary action in time, as failure to do so might result in the forfeiture of refund eligibility for confirmed reservations.
Refund Process for Cancelled E-Tickets: IRCTC manages refunds for cancelled e-tickets through distinct categories: 'Before Preparation of Charts' and 'After Preparation of Charts.' These categories delineate the timeline concerning cancellations in relation to the chart preparation for the respective train. Refunds are processed after subtracting applicable charges, typically within 5 to 7 working days. However, the exact timeline might vary based on the mode of payment utilized during the booking process. This procedural framework aims to streamline the refund process, ensuring that passengers receive their entitled refunds within a reasonable timeframe.
Cancellation Process and Charges: The cancellation of e-tickets through IRCTC is exclusively facilitated online and should be completed before the chart preparation, which usually occurs a few hours before the train's scheduled departure. This service isn't accessible at railway counters, emphasizing the necessity for online cancellations. Charges for cancellation differ based on the ticket class and the duration of the cancellation before the scheduled departure. They range from Rs 60 to Rs 240 per passenger for confirmed tickets. This range of charges is structured to correspond with the ticket class and the timing of the cancellation to ensure fair compensation for the service.
Refund Policies for TATKAL Ticket Cancellations: Cancellation regulations for Tatkal tickets encompass various scenarios, including the absence of refunds for confirmed Tatkal tickets and specific guidelines tailored for RAC or waitlisted tickets. Passengers holding party or family Tatkal tickets, comprising a mix of confirmed and waiting list statuses, can obtain a refund (minus clerking) if the entire Tatkal ticket is surrendered for cancellation up to thirty minutes before the scheduled departure. Additionally, there are specific directives for situations involving non-commencement due to train delays and refunds for passengers compelled to travel in lower classes owing to the unavailability of accommodations. Notably, confirmed reservations offered to RAC or waitlisted ticket holders until chart preparation will be subject to the relevant cancellation charges. (IANSlife)