Bombay HC directs Railway Tribunal to pay compensation to man who fell from train as per rules

The HC was hearing an appeal filed by Harish Damodar challenging the order of the Railways Tribunal rejecting his claim for a compensation of Rs 4 lakh.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 08:37 PM IST
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Observing that merely not carrying a valid ID card along with a season pass was no valid reason for denying an accident claim, the Bombay High Court has directed the Railway Claims Tribunal to pay appropriate compensation to a 55-year-old man who had fallen off a moving local train at Dadar station in 2004 and sustained severe injuries.

Justice SK Shinde while asking the railway tribunal to grant appropriate compensation, observed: “Although, instructions stipulate, season ticket would be invalid for want of Identity Card, in my view, for more than one reason, non-production of the Identity Card along with the season ticket by a passenger, who had sustained injury due to accidental fall, itself would not render valid season ticket, invalid.”

The HC was hearing an appeal filed by Harish Damodar challenging the order of the Railways Tribunal rejecting his claim for a compensation of Rs 4 lakh.

According to Damodar, he was travelling from suburban Mulund to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in the city when he fell off near Dadar station. He sustained severe injuries and had to undergo multiple surgeries.

He then approached the Railway Claims Tribunal seeking compensation as per the rules. However, the tribunal rejected his claim stating that though he was carrying a valid railway pass at the time of the accident, he did not have an identity card with him.

The tribunal cited a directive of the Union Ministry of Railways which said that a person must produce a valid identity card with the local train pass to be considered a “bonafide passenger.” As Damodar was travelling without an ID card, his claim was “not admissible”, said the tribunal.

Dismissing the ground, the HC observed that since Damodar was travelling with a valid pass, he must be considered a bona fide passenger. Also, the court said that the railway ministry's instructions were advisory in nature.

Justice Shinde observed: “The Union Ministry's instructions cannot be held (to be) mandatory and therefore would not render, proper season ticket, automatically invalid for non-production of identity card.”

Directing Damodar to file a fresh plea before the tribunal, the HC has asked the tribunal to reconsider the same and “proceed to grant compensation to the appellant (Damodar) in accordance with the law, by July 31 this year”.

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