Railway compensates passenger after 12 years

Chennai:  Nearly 12 years after a Secondary Grade Teacher died due to a fall from a train, his family will now get a compensation of Rs. four lakh with 7.5 per cent interest following a Madras High Court judgment.

Even though the relevant statute, Railway Claims Tribunal Act or The Railways Act, was silent regarding payment of interest on any awarded sum, it cannot silence the court’s power to grant interest under other enactments, the High Court held.

Justice S.Vimala was allowing an appeal by one M.Saraswathy against the Railway Claims Tribunal, Chennai Bench’s order of March 2009. Her husband, Mathiyazhagan (48), was injured after he fell from the Quilon Mail on May 1, 1998. He died on June 16, 2001.

Saraswathy submitted that her husband died due to the injuries. So, the railways should compensate her.

The railways said the death was not because of the injuries. The passenger died because he did not take treatment under a specialist. The railways was not liable to pay compensation.

Mrs.Justice Vimala said every human being’s expectation was to live even beyond the maximum life span, except in a few cases under exceptional circumstances. So, why the injured should get himself discharged against medical advice or why did he not avail himself of a specialist’s treatment should be considered in the proper perspective.

Availing specialist services involved huge expenditure and considerable time. “Many a time, specialist services are special to special classes and not to all people. Being a teacher, the injured may not have had sufficient money to take the services of specialist.”

That did not mean that ordinary doctors were incompetent to offer medical services. Therefore, the evidence of the doctor who treated Mathiyazhagan could not be discarded. Neither could it be concluded that the death occurred due to the negligence of the person himself, the Judge said.