The High Court of Delhi recently highlighted the distinction between an untoward incident and an act of criminal negligence, to hold that only the latter would disentitle grant of compensation under the Railways Act, 1989.
“I cannot agree with the arguments urged on behalf of the appellants/applicants in the facts of the present case because there is a difference between an untoward incident and an act of criminal negligence. Whereas negligence will not disentitle grant of compensation under the Railways Act, however, once the negligence becomes a criminal negligence and self-inflicted injury then compensation cannot be granted,” Justice Valmiki J. Mehta observed.
The Court was hearing an Appeal filed under Section 23 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987, challenging an order passed in May, 2016 by the Railway Claims Tribunal. The Tribunal had denied compensation for the death of a passenger who had fallen from the train, holding that the deceased had died due to criminal negligence.
The Court noted that the Tribunal had found that the deceased had tried to board a speeding train. It then observed that in the current case, the act of the deceased was one of criminal negligence, and upheld the order issued by the Tribunal.
The Court relied on the first proviso to Section 124-A of the Railways Act which provides that compensation will not be payable in case the death takes place on account of suicide or attempted suicide, self inflicted injury, bonafide passenger’s own criminal act or an act committed by the deceased in the state of intoxication or insanity.
Read the Judgment here.