The Railways Claims Tribunal (RCT), Chennai Bench, has directed Southern Railway to pay a compensation of Rs.1.20 lakh to a five year-old boy who sustained injury in the eye in a stone-throwing incident by some miscreants on the train in which he travelled with his parents.

R.Abhay, aged 5 years, of Thiruverkadu was travelling in Trivandrum Mail on September13, 2009 from Chennai to Kollam . He was hit by a stone thrown by some miscreants when the train was going between Kayankulam and Ochira stations. He suffered ‘Blunt Trauma and Traumatic hyphema’ of the left eye. However, Southern Railway said it was not liable to pay compensation. It contended that stone throwing could not be construed as an untoward incident as defined in Section 123(c) of Railways Act,1989. As no travelling ticket was produced for the journey of the minor applicant, he could not be considered as bona fide passenger.

During cross-examination, the father admitted that he had not mentioned his son’s name in the application form for reservation as required by the railways. He further deposed that he was not aware of the rules that minor’s name had to be indicated in the form.

The Railway Claims Tribunal, Chennai Bench comprising its vice chairman, G.K.Chaturvedi and member, D.K.Chakma said, “In this case, a child aged about 5 years cannot be penalised for a fault committed by his parents. During travel, the TTE had examined the passengers – the parents of the boy. But, he had raised no objection with regard to bona fide of the child.

Hence, this act of TTE would amount to obtaining of implied permission of a railway servant authorised in this behalf for such travel.”

Citing a judgment of Bombay High Court, the Bench pointed out that it had said throwing of stones by strangers from particular distance would not obliterate the liability of railways to pay compensation.

After perusing the medical records and the Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, the Bench directed Southern Railway to pay the compensation of Rs.1.20 lakh along with interest at 9 per cent till date of actual payment.

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