Compensation for railway mishap victims should be revised: Bombay HC

Mumbai: The statutory amount of compensation – Rs 4 lakh – that a family of any bonafide passenger is entitled to receive upon his or her death in a railway accident must be enhanced now, the Bombay High Court has suggested.

The court, last week, overturned the Railway Tribunal’s 2009 order, and directed the authorities to pay Rs four lakh to the family of Anil Thalkia, who died after falling from a local train in 2001. But it also noted that the law should be amended to increase the compensation amount.

“Railway Administration has undertaken hazardous occupation to carry passengers safely from place to place and it must have all security arrangements in order to carry bonafide passengers safely to their destination,” Justice AP Bhangale said, setting aside a 2009 order of Railway Tribunal.

Under the Railways Accident and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Amendment Rules, 1997, dependents of a deceased passenger are entitled to Rs four lakh. Justice Bhangale said that 15 years had passed since the last amendment, and considering the inflation, authorities should consider increasing the amount.

30-year-old Thalkia, his wife and three-month-old daughter were travelling from suburban Borivali to Churchage in south Mumbai on March 30, 2001 when he fell down on the tracks and died.

According to his wife, the station authorities wrongly recorded that Anil had been knocked down by a train (while crossing the tracks), based on hearsay evidence.

Railways denied the family any compensation, on the ground that he had been knocked down on the tracks, and was not a bonafide passenger. However, Madhuri’s lawyer pointed out that valid tickets were recovered from Anil’s pocket.