Compensation sought was in respect of the injuries sustained by the appellant in an “untoward incident”: Bombay High Court

Compensation sought was in respect of the injuries sustained by the appellant in an “untoward incident”: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court stated that the compensation sought was in respect of the injuries sustained by the appellant in an “untoward incident”.  

Background 

Appellant would claim that he fell down from a local train at Dadar Railway Station due to heavy rush of passengers in the compartment. As a result, he sustained serious injuries to spine and pelvis and had undergone six surgeries, at LTMG Hospital, Mumbai. While travelling, he was carrying with him a valid season ticket, with journey extension tickets, Mulund to CSMT and CSMT to Mulund. Appellant would therefore claim, he was “bonafide passenger” In support of the claim, he had produced on record, season ticket (Pass), journey extension tickets, discharge card of LTMG hospital, report of A.R. Shaikh, Railway Police Constable. That being so, he claimed compensation. The claim was opposed by the respondents  Railway, contending that, appellant had sustained injuries due to his own act and negligence, and therefore claim was not admissible, in absence of “untoward incident” within the meaning of Section 123(c) of the Act of 1989. 

Decision 

The single judge bench of Justice Sandeep K. Shinde noted that the expression “passenger” as defined under Section 2(28) of Act of 1989 means, “a person travelling with a valid pass or ticket. Expression “ticket” is not defined under the Act. However, the term “pass” defined under Section 2 (28) does not include a ticket. Thus, to be understood, tickets include “season ticket”, which is popularly known as “Pass”. 

The court further noted that the appellant was travelling in the passenger train with valid and proper season ticket with journey extension tickets and this fact was not in dispute. In Spite of it, the Tribunal held, the appellant was travelling “without ticket” and thus concluded, the applicant was not a “bonafide passenger”. Question is, whether, for want of identity card, season ticket, carried and possessed by applicant-passenger, was invalid, and as such, was not “Bonafde Passenger”? 

The court said that the respondents relied on instructions issued by the Ministry of Railways. Instructions stipulate that; “It is necessary for the passenger to produce the identity card along with the season ticket, otherwise the season ticket will be invalid and passenger will be treated without ticket. It is necessary that particulars of the passenger are properly and correctly entered on the Identity Card and the photograph frmly pasted thereon. The booking clerk will put a station stamp in such a way that half of the stamp appears on the photograph and remaining part appears on the Identity Card.”

The court noted that the appellant had moved an application under Section 16 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 claiming compensation, under the Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 1990. It was an injury claim. The compensation sought was in respect of the injuries sustained by the appellant in an “untoward incident”. 

The court ordered that the Railway Claim Tribunal, shall proceed to grant compensation to the appellants in terms of Rule 3 of the Rules, after verifying the medical evidence produced by the appellant in support of his claim, and in accordance with law, laid down by the Apex Court, in the case of Union of India v/s. Rina Devi.. 

The court directed the registry to transmit records and proceedings in Original Application to the Railway Claims Tribunal, Bench, Mumbai within two weeks from the date of uploading the judgment on the website. 

Case title: Shri. Harish Chandra Damodar Gaikwad v/s Union of India

Citation: FIRST APPEAL NO. 979/2009

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

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