I love little cases/stories like this. I think many of us have some things that we will doggedly pursue, which in the greater scheme of things may be small... but it becomes a matter of principal mixed with amusement.

In London our transport network is managed by TFL. Their website lets you search for routes, and in the route options you can go for the fastest route, or choose this option: "Routes with the least changes". Every year on the same date, I would contact them and ask them to change that to "Routes with the fewest changes" and they would respond with something to the effect of "thanks for the feedback, passed it on, go away now".

I think I did this for over 10 years until one day it did get changed on their site. They did accompany it with a greater set of changes, that made the results more convoluted with pointless waypoints that clutter the results, but that's a new matter to pursue.

> Equally surprising was that Indian Railways, the country’s largest employer, chose to continue fighting the case.

If you think it's crazy for this lone lawyer to have gone through this crusade, keep in mind that Indian Railways fought in a 100 hearings for ~25 cents, and their lawyers don't work for free. How bonkers is that?

Reminds of the time I had an argument over the phone with a guy from a UPI app (PhonePe). There was a hack going around on dormant accounts. I had one account with them which was (maybe?) used only a few times.

I called customer care and asked if they could delete my account. They said, and I quote, "due to RBI regulations, we can't". Naturally, I asked "which regulation document? do you have a number?". The other person did not have an answer and escalated my call. They said they would get back to me and in the meantime, I read all the regulations there were. The regulations clearly stated that issuers shall give an option to close the account at any time. There was no such option in the app.

I pressed again to close the account to prevent misuse and/or fraud. The person on the other end of the call asked me (beratingly) to logout and delete the app. Because it was the same as deleting the account. I argued that it is not the same thing. To which his tone was more or less like, [my words, this is how it sounded] "you blithering idiot, you blasphemous imbecile, do you know how miniscule you are in the grand scheme of things. I am God here and you should bow down to my superiority and accept my solution"

I wonder if I should have sued.

This case is extra special, as anyone who has ever dealt with any Indian bureaucracy can attest to. I went to my university for some paperwork (years after I had gotten my degree) - I was treated like a leper and openly asked for a bribe.

This man is a hero! As he says, it is not about the money

My granddad had to fight a case for more than 30 years because the tenant wouldn't leave. 30 fucking years just to get back a house which he bought. The only mistake he made was buying the house with the tenants still inside. They even went onto to take the deal outside the court where we would pay 1/4 of the house price to make them leave the house.

Indian legal battles stretch for so long that many times people die without hearing a judgement for the case but my granddad was lucky enough to get the house back a few years before he died.

I have immense respect for people like this.

They fight tiny battles and when they win, they benefit everyone.

This is not a story about tenacity or an overloaded court system. It's a story about deliberate bad governance to keep corruption money flowing in an impoverished country.

The political leadership could easily find solutions to stop such abuses of the public legal system, and direct resources to high priority cases with large public impact. By deliberately allowing such cases to bog down the justice system and waste limited public resources, they ensure rule of law cannot operate effectively. It's a typical story.

>> The case highlights India’s overloaded court system, where around 40m cases are clogging up the system. Legal cases have been known to take 10-15 years to reach a conclusion.

Most interesting tidbit for me. Is this really true?

Periodically stories emerge about cases in Indian courts that have been pending for centuries. [0]. Such cases, not only in India, have also been the fodder for literature, including Charles Dicken's "Bleak House" set against the backdrop of the interminable fictional probate case "Jarndyce v Jarndyce" which is implied to have lasted for generations.

[0] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-21446272

Absolutely not a hill worth dying on, but I can’t help but be impressed with the tenacity.
A law professor who consulted around the world on transactional banking law with litigants and even courts recounted a sardonic bit of legal advice from India: Always pick a lawyer with a son. (Because the case will outlive the first lawyer, and better that it's passed on to someone with familiarity.)
I'm currently over 2 months and 4 emails into a battle to get a tiny amount of compensation for a train delay in the UK. Similar situation, it's not about the money, it's the principle.
He has truly done the needful.
Me and my friends often debate as most of the cases follow certain pattern, it should be easier to categories the majority of the cases and if not fully but partially automate the process.

Most of the paper work(judiciary / non judiciary) involves similar template , SSH/SSA , agreements etc. It need not be this complex. Most of the manual work involved in the process should be automated

I wonder how quickly he would have dropped the case if he had any more dire need of the court system over the past twenty years.
I feel like he should also get lawyers fees
It's worth noting that in the Indian judicial system a large number of judges are related to previous judges. There is a system where the previous judges appoint subsequent ones, which results in widespread nepotism.

The length of the battle comes from an overcrowded judicial system which has many reasons like this to be overcrowded via constraint of supply.

Supply constraint mechanisms are a way for labour to extract value from society. It happens with the AMA here and the judiciary there.

"Equally surprising was that Indian Railways, the country’s largest employer, chose to continue fighting the case."

There needs to be some sort of common sense oversight in the Raliways (and most probably in other Indian government organizations also).

Also I wonder on what grounds the Railways was fighting on? The prices of the tickets are well known and widely published, and even though they do change over time, a lawyer like Chaturvedi would have kept all documentation.

Love this story. The sheer level of stubbornness by some companies and and then the energy they spend fighting back, when they are clearly in the wrong, is mind-blowing. I’ve had my own battles, and it’s this kind of story that reminds me sometimes the energy is worth it.
It helps he’s a lawyer. I don’t know if it would be worth fighting for that amount over 22 years and paying a lawyer at the same time.
i am a legal practitioner operating in these courts and let me be the party pooper, cases like these are the reason why the judiciary is fucked shit.

courts in india have like 100 year backlog or something crazy amount. reason? i get the whole "principle" thing but get in line.

because of "principled people" like this man, inmates incarcerated for 10+ years without a trial are being delayed because once admitted, each case has to be completed to the full and these shall i say "worthless petty cases" are one of the causes of delay. want to know how much delay? apparently the case, over 22 years had over 100 hearing. that means, the 100 times the court was in session, some other case got pushed back, just a tiny bit but over 100 times, that counts to a lot.

now, i am not saying people should not fight for "principle" but when you are being pompous assholes for fighting over pennies while innocent men and women are being subjected to horrendous conditions in indian jails or thousands of victims of sexual crimes or other more serious issue, these principled people are causing the delay.

why dont you do arbitration whereby you go outside the traditional court system and fight your battles however long you like. why are they holding up courts?

If ever I saw a story of the Sunk Cost Fallacy in action, this is it.

You have to value your time and energy. 22 years of hearings for such a small amount of money really isn't worth it.

There was a time in my life when I would probably have fought this on principle, but I value my time a lot more now.

I admire what he did, we should have more people in the world like him.
The real winners are the lawyers of the train company
The needful hath been done.
De minimis non curat lex