Raps it for trying to exonerate itself from liability to pay compensation

The Department of Railways came under criticism from the Delhi High Court for filing “frivolous and irresponsible appeals” so as to exonerate itself from the liability to pay compensation.

The court also slapped a cost of Rs.20,000 on the department and ordered that the amount be recovered from the official who gave the opinion to move court in the instant case where a man was trampled inside a train’s bogie. “Strange are the ways in which government departments work. In this case the concerned department is the Railways. All I can state is that for no reason frivolous and irresponsible appeals are filed, and the Court fails to understand on the basis of what and whose legal opinion,” Justice Valmiki J. Mehta said.

“I am forced to make these observations because there are cases in which on even a cursory assessment of the impugned judgment, a reasonable view could have been taken for not filing of this appeal, however, I note that routinely appeals are being filed,” he added.

Victim Ram, who was travelling from Agra Cantt. to New Delhi on board Mangala Express on May 24, 2010, was trampled by the passenger rush in the railway bogie. He was found lying in the compartment when the train reached Nizamuddin station and was taken to hospital by the Railway force with severe head injuries and broken ribs. He could not be saved.

The Railways had moved the High Court against the order of a Tribunal which had held that the man was trampled inside the train due to over-crowding and the same comes under untoward incident for which the Railways is to be held liable.

The Tribunal had held that the incident could not be termed accidental falling. The High Court said: “I would only like to state that it is not even disputed on behalf of the appellant before me that the expression “untoward incident” does not mean that it does not include an incident in which a person dies on account of falling inside the train.”

It also noted that there is no such provision that fall should be outside the train. “…there is no merit in the appeal, and the same is therefore dismissed with costs of Rs.20,000...Costs be recovered by the appellant from that official or officials who have given the opinion for filing of the appeal in the present case,” the court added.

A fine of Rs.20,000 slapped on Railways to be recovered from official who filed appeal