The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court (HC) has awarded compensation to the family of a senior citizen who died after falling from a running train in 2011 observing, “It is not unknown that even without any jerk or alarm chain pulling, that people fall down from the train in our country and get injured thereby or die.”
Court directs railways to pay compensation
Justice Abhay Ahuja directed the Railways to pay ₹ 8 lakh as compensation to Rangnath Gaikwad’s widow, Kantabai and two sons, Rahul and Babasaheb within six weeks while setting aside an order of the Railways Tribunal.
The tribunal, on August 5, 2016, had rejected the plea by Mr Gaikwad’s family seeking compensation. The tribunal reasoned that “mere finding of a dead body or person in injured or dead condition or on by the side of a track does not ipso facto prove that the deceased fell down from a train”.
Victim died while returning in train, railways refuted the claim
According to the family, Mr Gaikwad had gone to visit his younger son at Parli. On the day of the incident, Mr Babasaheb bought a ticket for his father to return to Gangakhed in Beed district. Later that day, he received a call from his elder brother that their father suffered a railway accident and died.
The Family claimed that Mr Gaikwad fell off the train before Gangakhed due to heavy rush and sought compensation under section 124A of the Railways Act.
However, the railways opposed the claim stating that during the entire journey, there was no jerk or chain-pulling incident that could have led to an accident. Also, the railways claimed, that no one had reported any untoward incident.
Reports indicate victim came under train: Court
Disagreeing with the arguments of the railways, Justice Ahuja said, “It is not unknown that even without any jerk or alarm chain-pulling, people fall down from the train in our country and get injured thereby or die. In fact, all the police papers, including the FIR, the Accidental Death Report and the post-mortem report, clearly indicate that Mr Gaikwad came under a train and died on the spot.”
The court also took note of the condition of the body, which indicated that Mr Gaikwad died on the spot in a railway accident. His body was cut from the waist, the head separated from the trunk.
Railways argue that death wasn’t due to ‘accidental fall’
The counsel for the railways argued that since it was clear that Gaikwad had died due to a run-over and not an accidental fall which could constitute an ‘untoward incident’ under the act, no compensation could be granted.
Disagreeing, the justice averred that it cannot be denied that, after looking at the condition of the body, it was not an “untoward incident”, and set aside the order of the tribunal.