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CHENNAI: Questioning the rationale behind keeping 4 lakh as the maximum permissible compensation in railway accident cases, the Madras high court has asked the Centre to revise the rule to ensure a "fair, reasonable and just compensation."Justice P Devadass, dismissing a railways appeal against Rs 4 lakh compensation awarded to the family of a youth killed while travelling to Karur, said: "Under the 1990 Railway Rules, whatever might be the nature and extent of loss, 4 lakh alone, that too fixed on November 1, 1997, has been prescribed as (maximum) compensation. It does not appear to be a fair, reasonable and just compensation, and it is also not based on relevant aspects."He said: "At any rate, the outer limit of Rs 4 lakh is quite inadequate and it is high time it is revised by the central government to empower the Railway Claims Tribunal to award a fair, reasonable and... Read more...
just compensation like the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal and the Commissioner under Workman Compensation Act." The matter relates to the death of 24-year-old P Bakkiyaraj, who fell down from a moving train while travelling from Chennai to Karur on August 24, 2007. According to eyewitnesses, the train had an unscheduled halt at Veeravakiyam railway station, and Bakkiyaraj, who was standing near the door, fell down when the train moved with a jerk. Rejecting the railways' claim of negligence on the part of the victim, the Railway Claims Tribunal had awarded a compensation of 4 lakh, the maximum permissible, to the youth's parents. The railways filed an appeal in the high court. Justice Devadass refused to entertain the railways' argument of negligence and said: "The basic principle for grant of compensation to the victims is that they should get just compensation. Compensation must be in commensurate with the loss caused to the victims." Pointing out that the maximum permissible compensation payable by the railways was increased from 2 lakh to 4 lakh in 1997, the judge said it was high time the Centre made efforts to increase it as in the case of motor accidents. In case of road accident deaths, appropriate multiplier formula is applied taking into account factors such as the salary and age of the deceased, salary prospects, size of the family, loss of love and affection, mental agony, medical expenses, etc. He also said the victims could also approach other forums such as civil courts claiming compensation under tort law.