(2018)2 SCeJ 1050

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Delivered on 9.5.18

Reported on 9.5.18

  

 

Questions

Railways Act, 1989, Section 124A –

1.       Whether the quantum of compensation should be as per the prescribed rate of compensation as on the date of application/incident or on the date of order awarding compensation;

2.       Whether principle of strict liability applies;

3.       Whether presence of a body near the railway track is enough to maintain a claim.

4.       Rate of interest.

 

 

https://www.plronline.in/subscribe/

 

 

(i) Railways Act, 1989, Section 124A – Whether the quantum of compensation should be as per the prescribed rate of compensation as on the date of application/incident or on the date of order awarding compensation? – Compensation will be payable as applicable on the date of the accident with interest as may be considered reasonable from time to time on the same pattern as in accident claim cases - If the amount so calculated is  less than the amount prescribed as on the date of the award of the Tribunal, the claimant will be entitled to higher of the two amounts - This order will not affect the awards which have already become final and where limitation for challenging such awards has expired, this order will not by itself be a ground for condonation of delay. Conflict in Rathi Menon v.  Union of India, (2001) 3 SCC 714, para 30 and Kalandi Charan Sahoo v.  General Manager, South-East Central Railway, Bilaspur, Civil Appeal No.5608 of 2017 decided on 25.4.2017, stands explained accordingly.

Held,

Law in the present context should be taken to be that the liability will accrue on the date of the accident and the amount applicable as on that date will be the amount recoverable but the claimant will get interest from the date of accident till the payment at such rate as may be considered just and fair from time to time.                  

 

 

(ii) Railways Act, 1989, Section 124A – Interest - Rate of interest applicable in motor accident claim cases can be held to be reasonable and fair - Once concept of interest has been introduced, principles of Workmen Compensation Act can certainly be applied and judgment of 4-Judge Bench in Pratap Narain Singh Deo Pratap Narain Singh Deo v.  Srinivas Sabata (1976) 1 SCC 289, will fully apply - Wherever it is found that the revised amount of applicable compensation as on the date of award of the Tribunal is less than the prescribed amount of compensation as on the date of accident with interest, higher of the two amounts ought to be awarded on the principle of beneficial legislation -  Present legislation is certainly a piece of beneficent legislation. (Prabhakaran Vijaya Kumar Union of India v.  Prabhakaran Vijaya Kumar(2008) 9 SCC 527)                     

 

(iii) Railways Act, 1989, Section 124A – Compensation as applicable on the date of the accident has to be given with reasonable interest and to give effect to the mandate of beneficial legislation, if compensation as provided on the date of award of the Tribunal is higher than unrevised amount with interest, the higher of the two amounts has to be given - The 4-Judge Bench judgment in Pratap Narain Singh Deo Pratap Narain Singh Deo v.  Srinivas Sabata (1976) 1 SCC 289, holds the field on the subject and squarely applies to the present situation.

                                                                                                                                                                  

(iv) Railways Act, 1989, Section 124A Proviso - ‘self inflicted injury’  - Death or injury in the course of boarding or de-boarding a train will be an ‘untoward incident’ - The concept of ‘self inflicted injury’ would require intention to inflict such injury and not mere negligence of any particular degree - Doing so would amount to invoking the principle of contributory negligence which cannot be done in the case of liability based on ‘no fault theory’ -  United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v.  Sunil Kumar, 2017 (13) SCALE 652 lays down that plea of negligence of the victim cannot be allowed in claim based on ‘no fault theory’ under Section 163A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 - Accordingly, we hold that death or injury in the course of boarding or de-boarding a train will be an ‘untoward incident’ entitling a victim to the compensation and will not fall under the proviso to Section 124A merely on the plea of negligence of the victim as a contributing factor.                                                                                                                                                                        

(v) Railways Act, 1989, Section 124A - Burden of Proof When Body Found on Railway Premises – Definition of Passenger - Mere presence of a body on the Railway premises will not be conclusive to hold that injured or deceased was a bona fide passenger for which claim for compensation could be maintained - However, mere absence of ticket with such injured or deceased will not negative the claim that he was a bona fide passenger - Initial burden will be on the claimant which can be discharged by filing an affidavit of the relevant facts and burden will then shift on the Railways and the issue can be decided on the facts shown or the attending circumstances - This will have to be dealt with from case to case on the basis of facts found. The legal position in this regard will stand explained accordingly.                        

 

(vi) Railways Act, 1989, Section 124A – Interest  - Rate of Interest to be awarded  - In absence of any specific statutory provision, interest can be awarded from the date of accident itself when the liability of the Railways arises upto the date of payment, without any difference in the stages.

 

Download

(2018)2 SCeJ 1050 - railways act - comp
Adobe Acrobat Document 199.8 KB

 

 

PLR Supreme Court e@journal

 

 

Annual subscription Rs. 1000/-

5 UPDATES A WEEK  

Full text with Headnotes through

email / WhatsApp

 

FREE with

PUNJAB LAW REPORTER

 Annual subscription Rs. 2400/-

punjablawreporter@gmail.com / 9463324502