16 September 2019


Judgments

Railway Claims Tribunal

Amar Bai and Ors. Vs. Union of India

MANU/RL/0394/2017

14.09.2017

Civil

A mere plea without supported by any corroborative evidence, has no gravity in the eye of law

Case has been preferred before this Tribunal by the wife and sons of the deceased being sole dependants under Section 16 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 read with Section 125 of the Railways Act, 1989 seeking compensation of Rs. 16,55,000/- together with interest on account of death of Shri Kaluram in an alleged untoward incident. It has been deposed by Applicant No. 1 that, on 13th February, 2013 her deceased husband was travelling from Delhi Cantt. to Narnaul by a passenger train named Delhi Udaipur Chetak Express holding a valid second class railway journey ticket bearing No. 95214044 and was a bona fide passenger of the said train at the time of occurrence of incident.

The Police have very specifically shown the recovery of ticket from the person of the dead body along with other articles. Besides, the Investigation Officer while submitting his Report to the competent authority, has also very specifically mentioned that, railway journey ticket was found with the deceased and the same was also got verified by the Booking Office, Delhi Cantt and found to be correct. It is held that, deceased was a bona fide passenger of the alleged train as defined under Section 2(29) read with Section 124A of the Railways Act, 1989

To prove the death of the deceased as a result of an untoward incident, it has been deposed by Applicant No. 1 that, her deceased husband was travelling from Delhi Cantt. to Narnaul and during journey, when the said train reached near Narnaul railway station, her deceased husband due to a sudden jerk by the train and resultant loss of balance, accidentally fell down from the running train, suffered multiple grievous injuries and died subsequently. To establish their case that, death of the deceased occasioned due to an untoward incident as a result of an accidental fall from the running train, copies of certain documents prepared by the Police and Post-mortem Report have been placed on record by the applicants. Although, it has been argued on behalf of Respondent railway administration that, deceased did not become a victim of an untoward incident as a result of an accidental fall from the running train but no evidence whatsoever has been adduced to substantial the same. A mere plea without supported by any corroborative evidence, has no gravity in the eye of law.

With regard to the liability of Respondent railway administration in such cases, Supreme Court in Union of India versus Prabhakaran Vijaya Kumar, has observed that, It is well settled that if the words used in a beneficial or welfare statute are capable of two constructions, the one which is more in consonance with the object of the Act and for the benefit of the person for whom the Act was made should be preferred. Beneficial or welfare statutes should be given a liberal and not literal or string interpretation. The expression 'accidental falling of a passenger from a train carrying passenger' includes accidents when a bona fide passenger, i.e. a passenger travelling with a valid ticket or pass is trying to enter into a railway train and falls down during the process. A purposive, and not literal, interpretation should be given to the expression.

Present claim application has been preferred before this Tribunal by the wife and sons of the deceased being the sole dependants. Applicant No. 1 has deposed that present applicants are the sole dependants of the deceased. Applicant No. 2 has also deposed the same fact by way of his examination-in-chief on affidavit. To prove their sole dependence, true copy of Family Ration Card has been filed on behalf of applicants. On the contrary, no evidence has been adduced on behalf of Respondent to rebut the case of the Applicants on the point of their sole dependence. Moreover, during pendency of the claim application, none else appeared before the Tribunal claiming himself/herself as one of the dependants or the sole dependant of the deceased.

Present applicants are the sole dependants of the deceased as defined under Section 123(b) of the Railways Act, 1989 and in view of findings above, they are entitled to get compensation of Rs. 8,00,000/- as prescribed under Part-I of the Schedule appended to Rule 3 of the Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 1990 as amended on 22nd December, 2016.

As regard interest, there is no provision under the Railways Act, 1989 or the Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 1990 as amended on 22nd December, 2016. However, in view of Supreme Court of India's decision in the case of Tahazhathe Purayil Sarabi and Ors. Vs. Union of India and others and Mohammadi and others versus Union of India, the Tribunal has the jurisdiction to award pendente lite interest on the amount of compensation determined by it under the provisions of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 and the Railways Act, 1989. Therefore, it would be just and reasonable to allow simple interest @ 6% per annum from the date of registration of the claim application to the date of this order.

Relevant

Union of India versus Prabhakaran Vijaya Kumar MANU/SC/7608/2008
: (2008) 9 SCC 527, Tahazhathe Purayil Sarabi and Ors. Vs. Union of India and others MANU/SC/1108/2009
: AIR 2009 SC 3098, Mohammadi and others versus Union of India III (2010) ACC 933 (SC)

Tags : Untoward accident Compensation Grant

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