16 September 2019


Judgments

Railway Claims Tribunal

Pardeep Kumar and Ors. Vs. Union of India

MANU/RL/0360/2017

17.08.2017

Civil

Mere availability of injured/dead-body in a railway yard does not per-se prove that, dead-body is of a passenger travelling in a train

The present claim application has been filed by parents of the deceased under Section 16 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1989 seeking compensation of Rs. 8,00,000/- for the death of their son in the alleged railway untoward incident. Facts of case as mentioned in the claim application are that, deceased was going from New Delhi to Mathura, and after purchasing train ticket from New Delhi railway station for going to Mathura in the afternoon, he boarded the train from New Delhi. There was heavy rush in the train and when the train was moving at Palwal railway station, it took a jerk due to which deceased fell down from the running train at Palwal railway station, received multiple injuries and RPF staff got him admitted to general hospital, Palwal from where he was referred to Safdarjung hospital, New Delhi but he succumbed to his injuries and died in the ambulance. It has been claimed that the deceased was a bona fide passenger and the journey ticket was lost in the incident.

Merely saying that, the deceased was going to Mathura from New Delhi or vice-versa by train after purchasing of railway ticket without any supporting evidence, does not prove the bonafide of the deceased. No train ticket was recovered in jamatalashi of the deceased which shows that, he was not travelling or going anywhere as it is hard to believe that, a person who is travelling in a train will not have any luggage or any cash in his pocket. No person is expected to undertake a journey, without some necessary papers and equipment like purse, mobile or some cash etc.

Mere availability of injured/dead-body in a railway yard does not per-se prove that, dead-body is of a passenger who was travelling in a train. In case of loss of ticket, High Court of Karnataka has held in case titled as Union of India Vs. Lakshmi & Others, that, 'the relevant provisions of Railways Act are very clear, in that, if a person suffers injury or death in an untoward incident as contemplated under Section 123(c)(2) of the Railways Act, 1989, he/his family members is/are entitled to seek compensation provided he is a bona fide passenger with valid ticket.

Even in case of loss of ticket, the purchasing of ticket has to be established. In present case, no supporting evidence has been produced by the applicant to prove that, the deceased was having a valid train ticket and was travelling in some train. Bench is of the opinion that, the deceased was not a bona fide passenger of any train at the time of incident.

The burden of proof entirely rests on the applicants to prove the untoward incident within meaning of Section 123(c)(2) read with Section 124-A of Railways Act. Delhi High Court in case of Jamirul Nisha and another V. Union of India, has observed that 'From the perusal of Sections 123(c) and 124-A, it is clear that 'sine qua non' for claiming compensation, on account of death or injury sustained in a train accident is that the victim of a train accident, or his dependents as the case may be, must first establish that the victim or the deceased had accidentally fallen from the train. In instant case, applicants have failed to establish that the deceased had accidentally fallen from the train.

In this case, no corroborating evidence is available to prove the bonafide of the deceased as no train ticket was recovered from the person of the deceased and merely claiming in the claim application without any proof or eye-witness does not prove the case of the applicants. In GRP proceedings, nothing was recovered from the person of deceased. Admittedly, an incident occurred at Palwal railway station but it was an untoward incident, it is not proved by any documents by the applicants.

As far as amount of compensation is concerned, Section 124-A of Act, lays down that railway administration, in a case of untoward incident, shall be liable to pay compensation to such extent as may be prescribed in case of death or injury. In pursuance of the aforesaid provision, Railway Accidents & Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 1990 were framed. These have been subsequently amended by Railway Accidents & Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Amendment Rules, 1997 & 2016. In case of death, a sum of Rs. 8,00,000/- has been prescribed irrespective of the age, earning capacity or status of the deceased. In this case, the Applicants have failed to establish the bona fide passenger status of the deceased under section 2(29) of the Railways Act and the case falling within the ambit of Section 123(c)(2), therefore, the applicants are not entitled to receive any compensation from the Respondent railway administration. Present claim application is dismissed.

Relevant

The Union of India vs. Smt. Lakshmi and Ors.MANU/KA/0705/2013
; Jamirul Nisha and Anr. vs. Union of India (UOI) MANU/DE/0391/2008

Tags : Untoward accident Compensation Entitlement

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