HC orders compensation of ₹8 lakh for accidental fall from local train

The Madras High Court has directed Southern Railways to pay a compensation of ₹8 lakh to the family of a passenger who died after an accidental fall from an electric train between Saidapet and Mambalam railway stations in Chennai in 2013.

The court held that the family could not be expected to produce his ticket (to establish his bona fide as a passenger) and that it was up to the railways to prove that he was a ticketless traveller.

Justice M.V. Muralidaran passed the order while allowing an appeal preferred by legal heirs of the deceased Srinivasan who was travelling between Tambaram and Beach stations on the fateful day. The appeal was filed against dismissal of their claim petition by the Railway Claims Tribunal, Chennai Bench on January 6, 2015 for want of proof that he was a bona fide traveller.

The judge agreed with the appellants’ counsel R. Parthasarathy that only the deceased would be in a better position to state whether he had purchased a ticket or not and that the family could not be denied the statutory compensation just because a ticket was not found in his pocket though it contained ₹2,510 in cash.

Stating that a person who had so much of cash in pocket would not have travelled without purchasing a ticket that would have cost ₹15 to ₹ 20, the judge said the general presumption of every passenger being a bona fide traveller would have to be thwarted only by the railways by producing adequate evidence to prove that he/she had not purchased a ticket.

Facts and circumstances

“When a person dies in an accident by falling down from train, it is not possible for the legal heirs to produce the ticket or valid authority to travel in the train. Depending upon the facts and circumstances of a given case, the Tribunal and/or the Appellate Court infers about the deceased being a bona fide passenger.

“In the present case, facts and circumstances prima facie indicate that the deceased was a bona fide passenger who lost his life in the railway accident,” the judge observed. Further, he took note of the fact that the quantum of compensation for accidental deaths during train travel had been increased from ₹4 lakh to ₹8 lakh with effect from January 1, 2017.

The present appellants were entitled to the enhanced amount along with interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum from the date of claim, he ordered.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 2:15:58 PM |

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