Jharkhand High Court: Kailash Prasad Deo J. allowed the appeal and directed respondent-Railway to pay a sum of Rs 8 Lacs in view of a recent notification dated 22-12-2016 issued by the Ministry of Railways.
The factual matrix of the case is such that the deceased, who has a ticket bearing no. 88302375, was travelling from Asansol to Madhupur by boarding train no. 12369/12327 UP on 11-09-2015 and fell down at Chittaranjan Railway Station due to intense jostling and sustained serious injuries and died on the spot. A case was registered. The appellants have preferred the instant appeal against the Award/Judgment dated 31-01-2017 passed by Member (Judicial), Railway Claims Tribunal, Ranchi Bench, whereby the claim application of the appellants/parents of the deceased have been dismissed on the ground that the deceased Pulis Marandi died because of his reckless, imprudent violating all safety norms demanded during train travel with imminent possibility of endangering both life and limbs of a passenger by stating that the case of the deceased comes under clause (b) of proviso to Section 124-A of Railways Act and as such, exempted the railway to pay compensation.
Counsel for the appellant Mrs Chaitali Chatterjee Sinha submitted that Railway Claims Tribunal has committed error on two counts; firstly that the deceased Pulis Marandi was possessing a passenger ticket, but boarded on an express train, secondly that the deceased has purchased ticket upto Chittaranjan and boarded train going to Madhupur and sustained injury while trying to get down at Chittranjan Station, as such, died in an accident because of his own fault. It was further submitted that no contrary evidence has been brought on record to strengthen the argument of the Railway, that it was a passenger ticket and deceased has boarded in an express train or super fast train. It was also brought to notice that the case of the deceased comes under Section 123 (c) of the Railways Act and not under exception Clause (b) of proviso to Section 124-A of the Railways Act. No evidence has been brought on record to substantiate that the case of the deceased comes under exception clause (b) of proviso to Section 124-A of the Railways Act, as such, the impugned award may be set aside.
Counsel for the respondent Mr Vijay Kumar Sinha has submitted that the deceased has boarded express train, having passenger ticket upto Chittaranjan Railway Station and wrongly pleaded in the claim application that deceased was travellling from Asansol to Madhupur and thus the Tribunal has rightly dismissed the claim application as it is a case which comes under exception clause (b) of proviso to Section 124-A of the Railways Act.
The Court observed that under the aforesaid circumstances, once the ticket number has been brought on record which indicates that it was from Asansol to Madhupur, the railway ought to have brought on record any material to show that this ticket was never sold by the railway or this ticket was never issued for the express train and only on the argument, that deceased was holding ticket for passenger train will not suffice the purpose to declare the deceased not a bonafide passenger under Section 2 (29) of the Act in a benevolent legislation like Railways Act, 1989.
The Court thus held that the deceased was having ticket, to be a bonafide passenger as defined under Section 2 (29) of the Act and the deceased was victim of an Untoward Incident as defined under Section 123 (c) of the Act. “Accordingly, the impugned order dated 31.01.2017 passed by Member (Judicial), Railway Claim Tribunal, Ranchi in OA (IIU) / RNC / 2015 / 01014 is hereby set aside.”
[Gunadhar Marandi v. Union of India, M.A. No. 448 of 2017, decided on 01-06-2020]
Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.