Roof-Riders to get compensation by railways
In a recent judgment of Anil Kumar Gupta v. Union of India (UOI) and Ors, the Supreme Court directed Indian railways to pay compensation to the kin of deceased who died while riding on the roof of train carriages. The Coram was constituted by Justice T.S.Thakur (Chief Justice of India) and U.U.Lalit.
In the accident, 20 persons were killed and many others were permanently disabled, grievously and simply injured. The court directed the railway administration to pay the following amounts as compensation –
- 5 lakhs in case of death to the next kin;
- 1.5 lakhs to persons who have suffered permanent disability;
- 75,000 to persons who have been grievously injured;
- 25000 to persons who have been simply injured.
The incident took place when Indo Tibetan Border Force (ITBP) having its headquarters in Bareilly had called candidates from 11 states in order to fill 416 posts of Class IV employees on 1.2.2011. The candidates were required to be present in person and submit their forms for registration. Over 2 Lakh candidates had arrived and therefore ITBP found itself incapable of managing the situation and therefore they postponed the recruitment.
Due to congestion and crowd in large numbers, the coaches were all packed and the candidates climbed atop Himgiri Express which was on its way to eastern UP and Bihar. The railway official’s attempts made several attempts to make them step down but the persons sitting on the roof refused to climb down and the train commenced its journey nevertheless.
On its way, the train crossed Hathaurda railway foot over bridge near Mohammadabad crossing near Shahjahanpur. The gap roof of the bridge and roof of the coach was hardly 3 feet and the speed of the train was 75KMPH. Before the young men saw the bridge approaching it was too late.
The Supreme Court agreed that the persons on the roof of the train contributed to the accident yet it blamed the railway officials for allowing the train to commence its journey, despite the unsafe circumstances; and expressed exasperation as to why the train was running at such high speed, given the circumstances.