The Bombay high in the case of Harish Chandra Damodar v. Union of India said that the guidelines relied on by the Railways in this regard cannot be described as “required” and would not automatically declare a valid season ticket invalid due to the failure to produce an identity card.
According to the Bombay High Court, a passenger in a Mumbai local train who has a valid season ticket will be considered a bona fide passenger when it comes to claiming compensation for an accident that occurred during the journey, and the season ticket will not be invalidated if no separate identity proof is produced.
The directions relied on by the Railways in this regard, according to a bench comprising a single judge bench led by Justice Sandeep K Shinde, cannot be described as “required” and would not automatically deem a valid season ticket invalid due to the failure to produce an identity card.
Passenger producing proper season ticket without, identify card, ipso-facto, would not render season ticket, improper and/or invalid, unless, it is proved that passenger was using season ticket, that was issued in the name of another person,”The Court said
The ruling came in an appeal contesting the Railway Claims Tribunal’s decision to deny compensation to the appellant Harish Damodar, who suffered injuries after falling from a train due to a heavy rush of people.
While rejecting compensation, the tribunal noted that Damodar’s injuries did not appear to be caused by a “unfortunate incident,” but rather appeared to be “self-inflicted.”
The tribunal further determined that the appellant was not a genuine passenger because he did not have an identity proof with him when he purchased his monthly season ticket, implying that he did not have a valid pass.
The High Court contemplating question before it, that a season ticket carried and possessed by the applicant-passenger would be invalid due to a lack of identification card.
The Central government had relied on orders from the Railway Ministry, which said that the passenger must present his or her identity card along with the season ticket, failing which the season ticket will be invalid and the customer will be handled as if he or she did not have a ticket.
The Court, on the other hand, stated that a passenger’s failure to produce his or her identity card along with his or her season ticket, despite having received an injury as a result of an accidental fall, would not render a legal season ticket invalid.
“First reason is that, applicant was travelling with valid and proper season ticket. Therefore, he was “Passenger” within the meaning of Section 2(29) of the Act. Second reason is, instructions relied on by the Railways, cannot be said to be ‘mandatory’ and therefore would not render, proper season ticket, automatically invalid for non-production of identity card.”The court Said
Furthermore, under to Section 54 of the Railways Act of 1989, every passenger must provide his or her “pass” or “ticket” to any railway servant on demand for examination during the ride.
As a result, a passenger presenting a valid season ticket without an identification card would not constitute the season ticket unsuitable or invalid unless it could be proven that the rider was using a season ticket issued in the name of another person, according to the Court.
Despite the fact that Section 53 of the Act bans the transfer of “certain tickets,” it was not the respondent’s position that the applicant’s season ticket was issued in the name of another person.
“Appellant had produced the valid season ticket bearing his signature and also journey extension tickets, which bore season ticket no.62490200. The signature of the appellant on season ticket, was not disputed by the Railways. Moreover, season ticket and the journey extension tickets, were recovered, from the appellant while removing him at Hospital. In the circumstances, non-production of Identity Card along with season ticket, itself would not render proper season ticket, invalid,” The Court Said
As a result, the Court ordered the tribunal to rule on the appellant’s compensation claim under the Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules as soon as possible, preferably before July of this year.
Damodar has been ordered to appear before the tribunal’s Mumbai bench on June 10 for a hearing.