SC: Railways liable to compensate victims of accidents while getting on or off the train

Team SoOLEGAL 14 May 2018 11:44am

SC: Railways liable to compensate victims of accidents while getting on or off the train

New Delhi: From now onwards Railways would not be able to shrug off its liability towards those who suffer injuries or die while boarding or getting down from the train. In a significant ruling the SC bench led by Justice A.K. Goel ruled that injuries while alighting or boarding the train cannot be termed as self inflicted injury. Death or injury, the victim or his family will be entitled to compensation from the railways.

The railways cannot pass on their responsibility and plead negligence on the part of the victims. Such deaths or injuries caused would be classified as “untoward incidents”, the court said. The judgment was given in case of an appeal filed by the government against the grant of Rs 4 lakh compensation awarded to Rina Devi, whose husband, Jatan Gope, had died on the spot after falling from the train.

The judgment also maintained that discovery of a body on railway premises would not mean that the person was a bonafide passenger for which claim needs to be paid. However, the judgment also stated not having a bonafide ticket or reservation should not become a ground for denying to genuine victims.

“Initial burden will be on the claimant who can be discharged by filing an affidavit of the relevant facts and burden will then shift on the railways. The issue can be decided on the facts shown or the attending circumstances. This will have to be dealt with from case to case on the basis of facts found,” the judgment held.

The counsel appearing for railway had argued that Railways was already paying a compensation of Rs 350 crore annually and with as long a network as 68000 km of rail track, many of which are unmanned/porus, it is possible for accidents to happen and Railways should not be held responsible for compensation if a person does not have valid proof of travel.

Tagged: SC   Railway   Accident compensation  
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