Railways ordered to pay Rs 10L for man's death on train

Railways ordered to pay Rs 10L for man's death on train

The Railways has been ordered to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation for the death of an elderly man due to alleged negligence and passivity by its staff on a train after he was allegedly drugged and looted by three co-passengers.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission while directing the payment of compensation to the man's widow also slammed the Railways over the manner in which the TTE and other staff on the Delhi-bound Lucknow Mail were discharging their duties in a 'happy-go-lucky' manner. "Had it been a case of their near anddear, things would have been otherwise."

In its order, the Commission also directed the Divisional Railway Manager, Northern Railway, Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh to conduct an inquiry against the doctor at Ghaziabad, Conductor, TTE and Assistant/ Attendant of the train.

The order came on a plea of south Delhi resident Nirmal Devi Chopra seeking compensation for death of her husband R C Joshi, then 65, who was travelling to Delhi on the intervening night of December 21-22, 1998.

Chopra had alleged that her husband was drugged and looted by three fellow passengers who were illegally issued tickets by the TTE and the railway staff on board the train. She alleged that no medical aid was given to the victim on the way even as the train stopped at Ghaziabad briefly.

"This is a case of negligence, inaction and passivity on the part of the Railway authorities. The Indian Railways Commercial Manual enjoins upon the Railways to secure medical assistance to sick passengers. No explanation is forthcoming as to why the train did not halt at Ghaziabad?

"Had medical aid been given to the patient at Ghaziabad Station itself, it could have saved the precious life of the deceased. It is well said that 'a stitch in time, saves nine'. What are the duties of train conductor/coach attendant and the TTE? All of them were sleeping and did not do the needful," a bench of Justice J M Malik and NCDRC member S M Kantikar said.

The NCDRC also directed that the inquiry report be submitted to it on or before April 1 next year, adding, "Disobedience shall tantamount to contempt of court."
Lambasting the Railways for defending its staff on the train, the Commission said they were liable for death of the victim and compensation should have been recovered from them.

"These persons are responsible for giving (cancelled) seats of another family, illegally and unauthorisedly to three unknown persons, for earning some illegal amount and have played havoc with the life of a person," it said.

The bench rejected Railway's claim that a doctor was called at Ghaziabad station but since the halt was only for two minutes, no treatment could be given.

It noted that no ambulance was called either at the Ghaziabad Railway Station or at the New Delhi Railway Station and the patient was carried in a Railway luggage trolley to the hospital where he died the next day without regaining consciousness.

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