-Report by Nehha Mishra
In the case of KALPANA DEVI VS UNION OF INDIA, the appellant failed to prove the situation as an ‘untoward incident’ defined under Section 123(c) of the Railways Act and was denied compensation by the Railway Claims Tribunal and was endorsed by the High Court of Delhi.
The appellant claimed that her husband boarded the train after purchasing a rational 2nd class superfast railway ticket for the train running from Agra Cantt to Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station.
Her Husband was standing at the door of the compartment and fell accidentally from the moving train and died at the stop. The appellant claimed that her husband has died in an ‘untoward incident’ and she is entitled to get compensation.
The Railway Claims Tribunal decided that the appellant cannot claim compensation as the journey ticket was not recovered, proving he was not a bona fide passenger. After reading the thorough details of the material on record, it further concluded that the had not occurred due to falling from the moving train.
The claim petition was dismissed by the Railway Claims Tribunal as they found the appellant non-suited on both counts.
Referring to the post-mortem report, the Learned counsel for the appellant contended that in the report, the cause of death was particularly expressed as ‘…possible in a railway track accident.’ The Tribunal has misjudged that the accident has not occurred due to the falling from a moving train.
He further contended that declaring him as a bona fide passenger is incorrect as the ticket was lost at the time of the accident.
A detailed analysis of the case record showed that the incident was first informed by a record that was made at 18:40 hours where it was expressed that one person was lying run over on the Ashram railway bridge whereas another record made at 19:50 hours mentioned that three dead bodies were found in the badly disfigured condition lying at the UP- line of Nizamuddin – Tughlakabad Section.
Adding to this fact, he said no eyewitness could confirm the incident and the appellant herself did not see her husband buying the tickets or boarding the train.
The cause of death was recorded as “a result of combined effects of craniocerebral damage and shock.” Whereas, the post-mortem report did not mention anything to the matter related to brain damage but rather noted multiple crush injuries, fracture of skull bones, and fracture of the pelvis on both sides.
The fact that 3 dead bodies were found at the place of the accident makes it difficult to conclude that all of them died by accidentally falling from the moving train at the same time.
Supporting this fact, the journey ticket was not found, and the first information as well as the post-mortem report mentioned that the appellant’s husband was run over.
The appellant failed to make out a case of an ‘untoward incident.’ The court agreed to the decision of the Tribunal.
The Findings recorded were upheld by the court and the appeal was hence, dismissed.
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