The Bombay high court, on Saturday, said the railways should reasonably enhance the compensation paid to railway accident victims, taking into consideration the high level of inflation and the diminishing value of the Rupee.
The court was hearing an appeal filed by the railway administration challenging a July 17, 2005 order of the Railway Accident Claims Tribunal granting compensation of Rs1.2 lakh to a woman, who lost two fingers from one hand on account of an accident at Borivli station 10 years ago. The railway administration had challenged the award, contending that the compensation was excessive. Justice Ashok Bhangale, however, rejected the contention and dismissed the appeal saying the award was well within the discretion of the Tribunal and thus cannot be branded as excessive or unreasonable.
It is desirable that the railway administration should consider the growing inflation, rising prices of essential commodities and the diminishing value of the Rupee and prescribe reasonable, fair and equitable compensation for claimants or victims of untoward incidents within railway premises, said justice Bhangale.
The court said that in many cases, accident victims suffer permanent disability rendering them incapable of earning a living and that in cases of death, the aggrieved family loses the bread earner forever. “That being so, it is desirable that the railway board or railway administration may prescribe reasonable and fair amount of compensation,” justice Bhangale added.
The judge expressed the need for early enhancement of the compensation provided under the Railway Accident and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules in view of the passage of the long period after they were last amended. The rules were introduced in 1990 and were amended only once in November 1997 and although 15 years have passed since, the compensation amount has not been enhanced.