Madras HC orders Southern Railway to pay compensation to passenger as it was probable that the ticket was lost during the accident and upheld findings of the Tribunal.

TITLE: Union of India Vs. V.Vetrivel

Decided On: September 1, 2023.

C.M.A.No.1415 of 2023 and CMP No.14103 of 2023.

CORAM:  Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sunder Mohan.


The Respondent purchased a II class train ticket at Erode Railway Station to travel from Erode to Morappur and boarded in train No.12686. At about 03.50 hrs., while the train arrived on platform no.2, he tried to get down from the train, he lost his balance and slipped down between the gap of platform and train due to which he sustained grievous injuries in his right hand. In the said accident, his right hand was amputated at the level of upper limb. Hence, filed the claim petition. The Appellants stated that the accident occurred due to the negligent act of the respondent who alighted from the moving train, fell down and sustained injuries; hence the appellant is not liable to pay compensation for the self-inflicted injury under Section 124-A(b) of the Railways Act, 1989; that the respondent was not a bonafide passenger; that no ticket or travelling authority was found in possession of the respondent and prayed for dismissal of the petition.

Legal Analysis and Decision:

The Railways Claims Tribunal, on consideration of the documents, held that the respondent was a bonafide passenger and he sustained injuries in an untoward incident that took place on 20.03.2019 and directed the appellant to pay a sum of Rs7,00,000/- as compensation
to the respondent.

The Appellants contented that The DRM (Inquiry) report states that the respondent fell down while trying to get down from the running train, lost his balance, slipped down and fell into the gap between the platform and the train, due to which he sustained grievous injuries in his right hand. The learned counsel further submitted that the respondent was not a bonafide passenger as he was not found in possession of train ticket or travel authority. However, the Tribunal had on erroneous appreciation of facts held that the respondent was a bonafide passenger; that the incident was an untoward incident; that therefore the appellant is liable to pay compensation and prayed for allowing the appeal. The respondent fell down from the train due to his own negligence, it cannot be said that it is not an untoward incident, as defined under Section 123 (c) (2) of the Railways Act.

The injuries as stated earlier suggest that it was grievous in nature. The respondent has filed an affidavit before the Tribunal stating that he had a valid ticket and he had lost it in the accident. It is trite that mere absence of ticket cannot be a reason to hold that the respondent is not a bonafide passenger. Considering the fact that the respondent had discharged his initial burden, it is for the appellant to let in evidence to show that the respondent was not a bonafide passenger. The Tribunal, considering the nature of injuries and the fact that the respondent may not have remembered the exact time of purchase of train ticket rejected the
evidence let in by the appellant and held that it is probable that the ticket was lost during the accident. There is no reason to interfere in the said factual finding of the Tribunal. The respondent is entitled to withdraw the compensation amount decided by the tribunal.


The Court held that the Respondent is the bonafide passenger and he is entitle to claim the compensation amount which was fixed by the tribunal for the damages caused to the respondent. So, the petition of the Sothern Railway was dismissed and Respondent was entitled to claim the Compensation from the Appellants (Sothern Railway).

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Delhi High Court Orders Fresh Inquiry in Railway Service Dismissal Case   

Case Title: Neera Mehta v. Union of India and Anr. 

Date of Decision: 01.09.2023  

Case Number: W.P.(C) 16059/2022 & CM APPLS. 50120/2022 and 25493/2023  

Coram: Hon’ble Mr. Justice V. Kameswar Rao & 
Hon’ble Mr. Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta  



This case involves a challenge to an order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on August 08, 2022, which upheld the dismissal of the petitioner, Neera Mehta, from Railway service due to allegations of submitting a forged Date of Birth Certificate. The petitioner, through her counsel, challenged the orders of the Disciplinary Authority dated April 30, 2019, and the Appellate Authority dated September 27, 2019. 


Factual Background 

Neera Mehta had served in various roles within the Indian Railways, starting as a Booking Clerk and eventually becoming an Office Superintendent. A complaint was made against her, prompting a show-cause notice in December 2017, stating that her educational certificate from Higher Secondary Examination in 1975, which listed her date of birth as May 24, 1959, did not match records from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The CBSE’s records indicated her date of birth as May 24, 1952.  

In response, Neera Mehta claimed that her date of birth was indeed May 24, 1959, citing a Birth Certificate issued by Christian Hospital. She also mentioned matrimonial disputes that led to false complaints against her. 

Afterward, she received a charge-sheet under the Railway Servant Discipline and Appeal Rules, 1968, and the Inquiry Officer found her guilty of the charges. Consequently, she was dismissed from the Railway service on April 30, 2019. Her appeal to the Appellate Authority on September 27, 2019, was unsuccessful.  


Legal Issues 

The main legal issues in this case are:  

  1. Whether the inquiry was conducted in accordance with principles of natural justice. 
  2. Whether the petitioner was prejudiced by the failure to summon witnesses or produce relevant documents during the inquiry. 
  3. Whether the order of dismissal was valid and justified.


Contentions of the Parties 

– The petitioner argued that the inquiry violated principles of natural justice as it assumed the truth of CBSE’s letter pointing out the date of birth discrepancy. She also claimed that certain requested documents were not provided during the inquiry.  

– The petitioner contended that her Birth Certificate from Jhansi should have been considered, as it correctly listed her date of birth as May 24, 1959.  

– The petitioner questioned the authenticity of the CBSE certificate and argued that it was not properly considered during the inquiry.  

– The petitioner argued that the punishments of dismissal and removal from service were disproportionate and harsh.  


The respondents argued that the inquiry was conducted following the principles of natural justice, and the burden to produce correct educational documents lay with the petitioner. They emphasized that the petitioner had submitted a forged certificate, and that the dismissal order was lawful.  


Observation and Analysis 

The Court noted that the inquiry did not follow proper procedures, particularly in failing to summon witnesses from CBSE and not providing relevant documents to the petitioner. The Court found that the petitioner’s Birth Certificate from Jhansi was not adequately considered, despite being supported by a certificate from Christian Hospital. The CBSE certificate’s authenticity and relevance were also questioned.  


The Court emphasized that the principles of natural justice should be adhered to in disciplinary proceedings, and evidence should be conclusive rather than leaving matters in suspicion. It also cited previous judgments highlighting the importance of properly conducted inquiries. 



The Court set aside the orders of the CAT, Appellate Authority, and Disciplinary Authority and remitted the case back to the Disciplinary Authority for a fresh inquiry. The inquiry should be conducted from the point at which it was found to be vitiated, particularly considering the Higher Secondary Certificate obtained from CBSE, Ajmer, which was not provided to the petitioner during the initial proceedings. The Court directed the Disciplinary Authority to conclude the inquiry within six months. The Court did not reinstate the petitioner but allowed her the opportunity to defend herself properly in a fair inquiry.  

The court’s decision to remand the case for a fresh inquiry reflects its commitment to upholding fairness and due process in administrative and disciplinary matters. 


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Written by – Ananya Chaudhary 

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The Right to Do Business Is Subject to Reasonable Restrictions in the Interest of Public Welfare and Economic Balance: Delhi High Court

Title: D.G. Raj Commercial Pvt. Ltd. and Anr. v. General Manager, Northern Railway and Ors.
Decided on:  1st August, 2023

+  W.P.(C) 7222/2019 & CM APPL. 30010/2019CORAM:  HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE SATISH CHANDRA SHARMA                                    HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJEEV NARULA SHARMA  


The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition challenging a tender floated by the Northern Railway. The court refused to agree with the petitioners’ claim that their right to conduct business under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India was being violated by the tender. The court held that the right to conduct business is subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of public welfare and economic balance.


The petitioners had a long-standing association with the Northern Railways and had entered into contracts for leasing parcel vans for train operations. They raised concerns when the Northern Railways issued a tender for leasing similar parcel cargo express trains to another destination, potentially impacting their business. The petitioners requested the withdrawal of the tender but were not successful. They approached the High Court seeking relief.

Advocate Manish Kohli represented the petitioners, while CGSC Arunima Dwivedi appeared for the respondent.


The Delhi High Court observed that the right to conduct business is not an absolute right and can be subject to reasonable restrictions. The court noted that the Northern Railways’ decision to introduce new trains was aimed at enhancing railway services and meeting public needs. The court emphasized that measures to improve railway operations should not be hindered by speculative concerns about their impact on the petitioners’ business.

The court also examined the petitioners’ locus standi to challenge the tender. It noted that the petitioners had willingly participated in the tender process and had even secured the bid but failed to complete the necessary formalities. The court stated that opportunistic litigation undermines the fairness of the tendering process and creates unpredictability.

The court also considered the terms of the existing agreement between the parties and found that the petitioners did not possess exclusive rights for the train route in question, making their claim less tenable.


The Delhi High Court dismissed the petition and imposed a cost of Rs. 50,000 on the petitioners to be deposited in the Delhi Police Welfare Fund. The court held that the petitioners had gained an unfair advantage by securing an interim stay on the tender, depriving the respondent of potential financial benefits. The court clarified that their attempt to prevent Northern Railways from issuing tenders for the relevant routes throughout the agreement’s duration was not justified.

In conclusion, the court dismissed the petition, emphasizing that the right to conduct business must be balanced with the broader interests of public welfare and efficient functioning of essential services like the railway system.

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Written by- Ankit Kaushik

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