A passenger boarding an overcrowded Mumbai local train and sustaining injuries in the process will be entitled to claim damages, the Bombay High Court has ruled, adding that such action cannot amount to a “criminal act”. The court was hearing a plea by a 75-year-old man after he was denied compensation by a Railway Claims Tribunal after he sustained injuries after falling from a moving train, reported Bar and Bench.
A calculated risk of boarding an overcrowded local train will not amount to a “criminal act” under Section 124A of the Railways Act of 1989, the court ruled, adding that such a fall and injury would be covered by the definition of ‘untoward incident’ under Section 123(c)(2) of the Railways Act.
The court also ordered Western Railways to pay Rs 3.10 lakh as compensation to 75-year-old Nitin Hundiwala who had sustained serious injuries after falling off an overcrowded train on November 23, 2011. Hundiwala claimed in his petition that he sustained serious injuries in his head and left knee resulting in disability, He had fallen off an overcrowded Virar-bound train that he boarded from the Dadar station.
Hundiwala’s initial demand seeking Rs 4 lakh in compensation from Western Railways was turned down by the Railway Claims Tribunal (RCT) in July 2013 on grounds that he had resorted to an “imprudent and criminal act” of boarding a running local train.
Section 124A of the Railways Act exempts the transporter from paying any compensation if the passenger dies or suffers injury due to his own ‘criminal act’. Rejecting the contention, the High Court observed that the Tribunal erred in making the case of the applicant fall within the scope of a ‘criminal act’.