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SC Last Week said: To Look Into Problems/Disputes Regarding Safety Of Indian Railways

Team SoOLEGAL 4 Feb 2019 4:22pm

SC Last Week said: To Look Into Problems/Disputes Regarding Safety Of Indian Railways

“The Supreme Court stated that it will go through into issues and concerns regarding safety of Indian railways.”

 The two judge’s bench comprising Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Indira Banerjee sought views of the Union of India in the matter, while suggesting a judgment in an appeal arising out of a claim made in a railway accident death case. A person named Dasarath Yadav had died after his head collided with a post by the side of the railway track resulting in an accident.

Hence, the Railway Claims Tribunal held that he was a bona fide railway passenger and that the accident was an "untoward incident" in terms of the provisions of Section 123 of the Railways Act, 1989.  Also, found that the deceased was victim of his own act and no compensation was payable.

SC solicit the lawyer to approach ECI with plea against misuse of election conduct rules on appeal, the Calcutta HC held that the claimant was permitted to compensation of Rs.8, 00,000 with interest @ 9% per annum. HC also stated that in terms of Section 124-A of the Act the 'Principle of Strict Liability' would arise and as such the Tribunal was not right in denying compensation to the claimants.

Before the Apex court, In Rina Devi judgment, the contention was that the grant of interest on the sum of Rs.8,00,000 was not consistent with the law laid down. As observed by the bench that the claimant shall be entitled to the advantages ordered by the HC irrespective of the verdict as regards question of law raised in this appeal.

The court said by observing the said judgment: “The amount of compensation payable on the date of accident with reasonable rate of interest shall first be calculated. If the amount so calculated is not more than the amount prescribed as on the date of the award, the claimant would be entitled to higher of these two amounts. If the liability had arisen before the amendment was brought in, the basic figure would be as per the Schedule as was in existence before the amendment and on such basic figure reasonable rate of interest would be calculated. If there be any difference between the amount so calculated and the amount prescribed in the Schedule as on the date of the award, the higher of two figures would be the measure of compensation.”

For example: In case of a death in an accident which occurred before amendment, the basic figure would be Rs.4,00,000/-. If after applying reasonable rate of interest, the final figure were to be less than Rs.8,00,000/-, which was brought in by way of amendment, the claimant would be entitled to Rs.8,00,000/-. If the amount of original compensation with rate of interest were to exceed the sum of Rs.8,00,000/- the compensation would be in terms of figure in excess of Rs.8,00,000/-. The idea is to afford the benefit of the amendment, to the extent possible.

The High Court was in error in awarding interest on the sum of Rs.8 lakhs, since the accident had occurred before the amendment, as stated by the apex court. The bench had appointed Advocate Brijender Chahar as amicus curiae in this case, to assist the court in its concerns about Railway safety. A summary was also submitted by the amicus of following four reports in this regard.

On 17th February, 2012 Anil Kakodkar High Level Safety Review Committee, Twelfth Report of 16th Lok Sabha on safety and security in Railways, Report No.14 of 2016 of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Suburban Train Services in Indian Railways, and Twenty-Third Report of Standing Committee on Railways Fifteenth Lok Sabha (2013-14), Ministry of Railways Report on Suburban Train Services of Indian Railways, with particular emphasis on Security of Women Passengers. While disposing the appeal, the bench stated that the learned Additional Solicitor General readily agreed to the intimation that the Railways must consider the matter in right earnest and see that the worries regarding safety are immediately addressed. On the request of the learned Additional Solicitor General, the bench delayed the matter for eight weeks only to consider the issues regarding the safety as highlighted by the learned amicus curiae.

"The learned Additional Solicitor General readily agreed to the suggestion that the Railways must ponder the matter in right earnest and see that the worries regarding safety are immediately addressed."

Tagged: Railways   Anil Kakodkar   Uday Umesh   Banerjee   Security of Women Passengers   lok sabha   HC   SC   Rina Devi judgment   calcutta HC   ECI  
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