Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Supreme Court gives Rs 5 lakh to victims of rail mishap

Squarely blaming the railways for the February 2011 incident in Shajahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, in which 14 people were killed and 20 sustained injuries while travelling on top of Himagiri Express, the Supreme Court has directed the Railways to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakhs each to the families of
the deceased. On February 1, 2011 a large number of men, intending to participate in the Indo-Tibetan border police recruitment drive were travelling on the train rooftop. When the train reached Mohammadabad Crossing in Shahjahanpur, at least 14 were crushed to death by the over bridge.
Twenty others sustained injuries. As far as the injured were concerned, the court ordered a compensation of Rs 1.5 lakhs in every case of permanent disability suffered by anyone, Rs 75,000 in case of any grievous injury and Rs 25,000 for simple injury. The order followed a public interest litigation filed by Anil Kumar Gupta. Rejecting the contention of Railways that it was not responsible for the mishap, the Bench said those who died were obviously very young in age for they had come to compete for the jobs. Those who were in charge of railway administration in the concerned divisions ought to have taken sufficient precaution. The administration can certainly be taken to be aware of the fact that the foot-over bridges or any structures on the way could possibly be a hindrance and could have caused such incident with people in large number on rooftop. The Administration alone would be in a position to know about the existence of infringements with regard to certain structures and what could be possible implications if the train were to run at a great speed with large number of people on roof top. Reasonable care would naturally be expected of those incharge of the Administration. We therefore do not agree with the conclusion in the Report that Railway Administration was not responsible, the bench said.

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