P&H HC | Merely not finding a ticket from the body of a person who died in railway accident does not prove that deceased was a ticket less passenger

Punjab and Haryana High Court

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Dr Ravi Ranjan, J. allowed the appeal filed by legal heirs of a person who died in a ‘railway untoward accident’, under Section 16 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987.

The claimants herein were the sons of the deceased person who died in an accident during his railway journey. The claimants filed a case seeking compensation from the railway authority. However, the case was dismissed by the Railway Claims Tribunal on the ground that the deceased was not a bona fide passenger as no journey ticket was found with the dead body. Also, the train was a reserved one with no general class compartments and the deceased had no reservation. So the accident would not be included under the ‘railway untoward incident’. Aggrieved thereby, this appeal was preferred by the claimants.

The Court relied on Union of India v. Rina Devi, (2019) 3 SCC 572 where it was held that the mere absence of ticket cannot be proof that the deceased was not a passenger. Further, placing reliance on the judgment in Union of India v. Rani Devi, 2016 SCC OnLine Pat 777 the Court held that the fact the claimant was not traveling in the assigned class, does not deprive the claimants of the compensation. It was opined that the fact that the deceased was in the precinct of the railway is presumed proof that he had a valid ticket.

Hence, the appeal was allowed granting just and proper compensation. [Rakesh Kumar v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 2083, decided on 20-08-2019]

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