The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday, refused to grant compensation to a man who had lost both his legs in an accident while boarding a train, observing that he had been intoxicated during the occurrence.
The Court was hearing an Appeal filed under Section 23 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 by one Mr. Abhinandan, challenging an order passed in November, 2015 by the Railway Claims Tribunal dismissing his claim Petition.
The Appellant suffered amputation of both legs while trying to board a train at Gurgaon Railway Station. He had now claimed compensation on account of “untoward incident”. Reliance had been placed on Section 124A of the Act, which entitles to compensation, the injured person or the legal heirs of a deceased passenger, in case of an accident. Proviso to the provision, however, disqualifies a passenger if he suffers from an injury on account of state of intoxication.
His Appeal was challenged by the Railways, contending that the Appellant was not a bonafide passenger, and that the injuries had been self-inflicted.
Accepting the contentions put forth by the Railways, the Court noted discrepancies in the submissions made by the Appellant, observing that these refuted his claims of being a bonafide passenger.
The Court, thereafter, considered the medical reports according to which his breath smelled of alcohol. It rejected the Appellant’s contention that the smell of alcohol in his breath did not necessarily establish the fact of him being intoxicated.
Justice Valmiki J. Mehta observed that the provision did not require a level of intoxication, and observed, “The object of the different sub-sections mentioned in the Proviso of Section 124A of the Railways Act is to provide for situations where the accident is caused on account of self-inflicted injury, and in which circumstances on account of the injury effectively being self-inflicted, the accident is not covered under the term “untoward incident” as provided under the Railways Act. Once the intake of alcohol is such that it is found in the smell of the breath, then surely faculties of the passengers are bound to be affected, and thereby the injuries caused by the accident are self-inflicted injuries.”