Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Children Entitled To Deceased Mother's Share In Railway Compensation Award, Even After Receiving Compensation For Themselves: Bombay High Court

Sharmeen Hakim
24 Jun 2022 12:13 PM GMT
Children Entitled To Deceased Mothers Share In Railway Compensation Award, Even After Receiving Compensation For Themselves: Bombay High Court
x

Children can seek execution of Railway's compensation award on behalf of their deceased mother, even after receiving their own share of compensation, the Bombay High Court has held.

The court set aside the Railway Claims Tribunal's order which held that the petitioner-sons were not eligible to receive compensation awarded to their deceased mother and grandmother, having already received their share of compensation, after their father's demise in a Railway accident.

"I hold, appellants were entitled to recover the compensation that had fallen due to Lakshmibai and Indubai, but remained unpaid," the judge observed.

Justice SK Shinde thus condoned the sons' delay in approaching the Tribunal and directed the quasi-judicial authority to re-adjudicate the matter keeping in mind that it had all the powers of a civil court to execute an award.

"Every application moved by the dependents for compensation under Section 124 is for the benefit of every other dependent in terms of Section 125(2) of the Railways Act.," the judge further held.

Case

The petitioner Kiran and Santosh Paygode's father – Damodar – passed away after he fell off a running train. In March 2009 Damodar's mother Lakshmibai, wife Indubai and petitioners all were declared "dependents" under section 123 (b) of the Railways Act, and were collectively granted compensation of Rs. 4 lakh.

However, by the time the compensation amount of Rs. 1.5 lakh and Rs. 1 lakh could reach the wife and mother of the deceased, respectively, they had demised and the compensation amount was returned by post as "unclaimed."

Petitioner Kiran and Santosh filed an application before the Tribunal stating that their mother and grandmother's unclaimed compensation was transferred to them by "operation of law" or inheritance.

However, the tribunal rejected their claims for two reasons. First, the application was filed after 90 days (without sufficient reason) and second regarding their dis-entitlement, having already received their share of compensation. They were no longer "dependents," the tribunal observed.

Section 26(1) of the Railway Claims Tribunal (RCT) Rules allows substituting a deceased claimant's name with a legal representative's in proceedings before the tribunal.

At the outset, the court observed that the unpaid compensation now formed part of the two women's "estate," which their son and grandson were claiming, being the legal heirs, and it would be "absurd" to hold that the petitioners were no longer "dependents," just because they received their share.

The High Court further relied on the judgement of Krishnakumar G. V/s. Union of India wherein the court ruled that a dependent's rights cannot "vanish into thin air or disappear" merely because of his/ her death. There is no provisions in Chapter- XIII of the Railways Act which can suggest that the word "dependent" cannot include the legal heirs of a deceased dependent.

"Having regard to the facts of the case, I am inclined to condone the delay," the judge said.

"However, before concluding the Appeal, it may be stated that, Miscellaneous Application moved by the appellants, was in capacity as "dependents" of deceased passenger and legal representatives of Lakshmibai and Indubai," the court added.

Case Title: Shri. Kiran Damodar Paygode and Anr. V/S. The Union of India represented by the General Manager.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 231

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment


Next Story