Title: Sita Devi & Ors. vs UOI
CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE MANOJ KUMAR OHRI
The Delhi High court set aside the order of Railway claims tribunal and remanded back to the Tribunal for awarding the amount of compensation in terms of the Act and for which purpose the matter shall be listed at the first instance before the Tribunal on 10.07.2023. it is to be decided and compensation is to be paid within two weeks thereafter.
Facts of the case
It was Vinod Kumar i.e., deceased undertook a train journey on 12.06.2017 from Shahdara to Faridabad by a local train and when the train reached at KM 1514/13-11 JNC Yard between Faridabad and Tughlaqabad Station, the deceased fell down from the train on account of sudden jerk and push of the passengers and died at the spot. The journey ticket along with other articles of the deceased including his bag were also lost.
A perusal of the record would show that the first information on the incident was received in the form of memo of Station Master of Faridabad Railway Station at about 9:00 am on 12.06.2017. It mentions about the dead body lying at KM 1514/13-11.
Based on the reports and testimony submitted, On 10.02.2021, the principal bench of Railway Claims Tribunal passed an order dismissing the claims of the appellants.
Court Analysis and Decision
The delhi high court was expedient to refer to the judgement of Supreme court at Union of India v. Rina Devi (2019) 3 SCC 572 para 29, Where it was held that, “mere presence of dead body on the railway tracks will not be conclusive to hold that injured or deceased was a bona fide passenger for which claim for compensation could be maintained. However, mere absence of ticket with such injured or deceased will not negative the claim that he was a bona fide passenger Initial burden will FAO 46/2022 Page 3 of 4 be on the claimant which can be discharged by filing an affidavit of the relevant facts and burden will then shift on the Railways and the issue can be decided on the facts shown or the attending circumstances. This will have to be dealt with from case to case on the basis of facts found. The legal position in this regard will stand explained accordingly.”
The court decided to avoid the DRM report for taking into consideration as it is being filed after 14 months of the incident especially in the view of final report submitted by the SHO, court referred to the judgement of its coordinate bench in Bhola v. Union of India 2018 SCC OnLine Del 13486. Accordingly, the deceased is held to be a bona fide passenger and the incident to be an ‘untoward incident’ under Section 123(c) of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act 1987. Consequently, the appeal is allowed and the impugned order is set aside. The matter is remanded back to the Tribunal for awarding the amount of compensation in terms of the Act and for which purpose the matter shall be listed at the first instance before the Tribunal on 10.07.2023. Let the compensation amount be paid to the appellants/claimants within two weeks thereafter.
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Written by – Shreyanshu Gupta