The special bench constituted to look into the claims of 11/7 train bomb blast victims has cleared an unprecedented number of 62 cases in record five days.
Of these 62, sixty-one cases were those involving dead victims and one was related to an injured victim. Relatives of the 61 dead victims have been awarded an amount of Rs 4 lakh each.
Rajan Sharma, member (judicial) railway board and Arvind Dhemre member (technical) of Nagpur bench have been heading the Mumbai train bomb blasts bench, which sits at the Railways Claims Tribunal (RCT) office located at the Wig Wam bungalow on P D’Mello Road in south Mumbai.
Sources at the RCT said totally 327 cases have been filed by bomb blast victims, including those who were injured, of which about 62 have now been settled.
The special bench will sit for five days every month and the next bench will be sitting on January 22. Relatives of victims can file before the RCT within one year of the incident.
The special bench has been facing a problem to have a proper office as the regular Mumbai bench occupies the existing building. However, the Railways are in the process of building a new RCT office at Wadibunder as the existing Wig Wam bunglow will have to be razed for a proposed railway budget hotel.
The proposed hotel on 3,978 square metres land is expected to come on P’D Mello Road after demolishing the Railway Claims Tribunal Building.
Asked when would be the money disbursed, sources said the railways have to disburse the money within a period of sixty days. If there is a delay, the railways will have to pay it six per cent annual interest on the compensation amount.
The money is disbursed in such a way that it is ensured that the victim’s dependent gets it. “Some prefer fixed deposits, which are deposited in nationalized banks of the applicant’s choice. In case of a minor, the FD is kept in the bank in minor’s name with a provision that the minor would be eligible to get it only when he attains maturity,” he said.
“The decision to form a special bench was taken by the railway board to expedite compensation claims, other wise blast victims would have had to queue up in the line and wait for their case number to arrive,” a senior RCT official said.
Compensation is paid only after a decree is awarded on a claim filed in the Railway claims Tribunal by the victims or by dependents of the deceased passengers. The tribunal, that has 18 benches across the country, has power to award any amount till Rs 4 lakh.
The Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1989, is to provide for the establishment of a Railway Claims Tribunal for inquiring into and determining claims against a Railway Administration for loss, destruction, damage, deterioration or non-delivery of animals or goods entrusted to it to be carried by railway or for the refund of fares or freight or for compensation for death or injury to passengers occurring as a result of railway accidents or untoward incidents.