Karnataka HC Awards ₹8 Lakh to Family of Woman Who Died Boarding Wrong Train

Karnataka HC Awards ₹8 Lakh to Family of Woman Who Died Boarding Wrong Train

The Karnataka High Court has reversed a ruling made by the Railway Claims Tribunal and awarded compensation of ₹8,00,000 to the family of a woman who tragically died while trying to board an incorrect train in February 2014.

Facts of the Case

Jayamma, along with her sister Rathnamma, had boarded the wrong train; instead of boarding the Tirupati passenger train bound for Ashokapuram/Mysore, they had boarded the Tuticorin Express. When they realized that they were on the wrong train, by that time the train had started to move, and out of sheer panic, they attempted to disembark, which resulted in Jayamma sustaining fatal injuries that eventually resulted in her death.

In 2016, the family moved to the Railway Claims Tribunal, wherein the Tribunal was of the opinion that Jayamma’s death was a “self-inflicted” injury as per Section 124-A of the Indian Railways Act. The Tribunal held that Jayamma failed to utilize any available option, that is, either continuing the journey to the next station or pulling the alarm chain. The tribunal dismissed their plea for compensation, citing negligence on Jayamma’s part and labeling her death as a “self-inflicted injury.” Subsequently, Jayamma’s family appealed to the high court.

High Court’s Ruling

Justice H. P. Sandesh of the Karnataka High Court disagreed with the Tribunal’s interpretation, highlighting Jayamma’s status as a genuine passenger and asserting that her death stemmed from an ‘untoward incident,’ a position endorsed by the Supreme Court. The judge criticized the tribunal’s use of Section 124-A, arguing that its application was incorrect in this context.

As a result, the court has recently directed the railways to provide ₹400,000 in compensation with a seven percent interest rate. This ensures that the total amount awarded to the family reaches no less than ₹800,000, inclusive of interest.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon