Justice SM Subramaniam made the observation while setting aside an order of the Railway Tribunal rejecting the claim for compensation for the death of a woman who fell from the train due to overcrowding, speed, and jerk and jolt of the train between Kodambakkam and Nungambakkam railway stations.
Pointing out that many lives have already been lost due to untoward incidents in railway premises, Justice Subramaniam said contributory negligence also played a pivotal role. Unless a criminal act or self-inflicted injury can be attributed against the victim as contemplated under Section 124 (A) of the Railways Act, mere negligence or carelessness could not be a ground to deny the compensation, he said.
Noting that the final report filed after investigation revealed that the deceased fell from a running train due to huge rush, the court accounted for the hardship and pressure faced by women to reach their homes within a reasonable travel time, forcing many women/travellers to travel by standing in EMU trains.
“No doors are provided to close the entry in EMU trains after boarding of passengers. In fact, entry passage is broader and therefore, there is a possibility of falling down from a running train due to jerk and jolt,” Justice Subramaniam said.
Adequate safety measures were not provided especially in EMU trains, said the judge, adding that railway authorities were bound to provide safety measures, especially working class passengers who are either tired or under pressure to reach home quickly while returning from work. The court then granted a total compensation of Rs 8 lakh with interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum to the victim’s kin.