The Madras High Court allowed the appeal by the parents of a woman software engineer, killed at a railway station here in 2016, challenging dismissal of their petition for a Rs three crore compensation.
A bench comprising Justices K K Sasidharan and P Velmurugan set aside the order of the single judge who had dismissed their petition as not maintainable on the ground of availability of an alternative remedy in the form of Railway Claims Tribunal.
The single judge had concurred with the high court registry’s view that the proper course for the petitoners was to approach the Railway Claims Tribunal.
Allowing the appeal by A Ranganayaki and K. Santhanagopalakrishnan, the division bench made it clear that the high court registry has no authority to reject the writ petition on the ground of availability of an alternative remedy.
The court said the registry had virtually acted as a court and exercised judicial function.
“The registry has no authority to reject the writ petition on the ground of availability of alternative remedy. It is for the court to decide whether the writ petition should be entertained in a matter in spite of alternative remedy.”
“It is always open to the court to entertain the writ petition notwithstanding the alternative remedy available to the party. We therefore hold that it is not within the province of the registry to return the writ petition on the ground of alternative remedy,” the court said.
The bench said there was no point in directing the appellants to approach the Tribunal, which is empowered to take up cases where the claim is less than Rs 8 lakh.
It then directed that the petition be numbered and posted before a single judge.
S Swathi, daughter of the appellants, was killed on June 24, 2016 while waiting for a train at Nungambakkam Railway Station.
The parents of the deceased claimed compensation from the Railways by filing a writ petition.