Enhance compensation for railways accident victims

Delhi High Court– Deciding on a writ petition filed wherein it was sought to quash Section 129 of the Railways Act, 1989 as ultra vires Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution; to quash the Railway Accidents and Untoward Incident (Compensation) Rules, 1999 providing for Rs.4,00,000/- as the maximum amount of compensation in case of death or permanent disability and to direct the respondents to revise the upper limit of the compensation, a bench consisting of G.Rohini C.J and R.S Endlaw J. observed that there is no merit in the contention of the petitioner that the very object of establishing the Railway Claims Tribunal is defeated as the intention of constitution of the Railway Claims Tribunal is to provide an expeditious remedy to the victims of accidents and the claimant can also choose to claim higher compensation based on any other statutory provisions as provided under Section 128 of the Act by initiating proceedings before the appropriate forum.
In the instant case the petitioner contended that Rule 4 of the Rules and Section 129 of the Act which conferred unguided power on the delegate are liable to be declared illegal and should be quashed. The Court rejected this contention relying on Rathi Menon vs. Union of India, (2001) 3 SCC 714 wherein it was held “What the legislature wanted was that the victim of the accident must be paid compensation and the amount must represent a reality which means the amount should be fair and reasonable compensation. It is for the said reason that the Parliament left it to the Government to discharge that function”. Regarding the last contention of the petitioner, the Court directed the respondents 1 and 2 to consider the issue of updating the upper limit of compensation observing that it is obligatory on part of the Central Government to update the amount of compensation taking into consideration the substantial change in the money value and the impact it has caused in the cost of living. [Setu Niket v. Union of India, 2015 SCC OnLine Del 13460, decided on 19.11.2015]

Source: Legal news India

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