Death or injury while boarding or de-boarding train entitles passenger to compensation: SC

May 10, 2018 10:25 IST
Death or injury while boarding or de-boarding train entitles passenger to compensation: SC

The Supreme Court of India on May 9, 2018 held that railways will be liable to pay compensation to passengers in case of death or injury while boarding and de-boarding trains.

The court stated that death or injury while boarding or de-boarding a train is an untoward incident which entitles a passenger to compensation and will not be considered his negligence.  The ruling was given by a two-judge bench comprising Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Rohinton F Nariman.

SC Judgement: Key Highlights

  • The court held that death or injury in the course of boarding or de-boarding a train will be an 'untoward incident' entitling a victim to the compensation and will not fall under the proviso to Section 124A (suicide, self-inflicted injury) merely on the plea of negligence of the victim as a contributing factor.
  • The court said that the initial burden will be on the claimant that can be discharged by filing an affidavit of the relevant facts and the burden will then shift on the railways and the issue can be decided on the facts shown or the attending circumstances.
  • The court held that the matter would have to be dealt from case to case on the basis of facts found.

Other Details

The court held that the mere presence of a body on railway premises will not be enough to convince that the injured or deceased was a genuine passenger and is entitled for compensation.

It, however, clarified that the absence of ticket on an injured or deceased will not cancel out his/her right to compensation. In this case, the petitioner would have to prove his case by providing the required documents.

The court made it clear that the railways will not be able to avoid paying compensation citing negligence on the part of passengers.

Background

The judgment came on an appeal filed by the Centre, which had approached the apex court against an order by the Patna High Court that awarded a compensation of 4 lakh rupees to the wife of a person who fell down from a train due to rush of passengers and died on the spot on August 20, 2002.

The high court had set aside the railway tribunal's order by taking into consideration the statement of an eye witness who had filed an affidavit stating that the deceased had purchased the ticket and had boarded the train.

The tribunal had dismissed the claim on the ground that it was not a case of "untoward incident" but a case of "run over" and that the deceased was not a bona fide passenger.

Case

The wife of the passenger had claimed that the deceased had purchased a ticket of second class for a journey from Karauta to Khusrupur and he fell down from the train due to rush of passengers and died on the spot.

She had also contended that the ticket was not recovered from the possession of the deceased as it might have been lost somewhere.

One of the passengers, who witnessed the deceased purchasing the ticket and boarding the train, had filed an affidavit.

 

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