When a train accident occurs, there are multiple parties who may be held liable for any pain and suffering, loss of income, medical costs and other costs associated with a train accident. Responsible parties may include the company that owns and operates the train, the employees of the train, manufacturers or suppliers of any defective parts of the train, or any other party that contributed to the train accident.
Common Causes Of Train Accidents;
1) Human Error:- Human error also continues to be the leading cause of many train accidents throughout the country. However, train accidents caused by human error must continue to be addressed through heightened requirements and increased penalties/fines. The umbrella term “human error” includes the following:
- Engineer distraction
- Excessive speed
- Failure to timely brake
2) Track and Roadbed Malfunctions:- Broken rails and track issues still remain a common cause of train derailments. However, this is a decreasing factor, nowadays. This substantial decrease has been due to the concerted efforts of many different organizations to tackle this ongoing problem and prevent the loss of life caused by train accidents.
3) Mechanical Failure:- Mechanical failure does play a larger role in train accidents and derailments. Trains must be regularly serviced to stay in working condition, and the failure to notice an obvious issue with the train performance could lead to a devastating accident in the future.
Railway Claims Tribunal: The administration of the Railways is not limited only to the running of the Railway, it is something beyond that. The functioning of the Railways also includes issues like the loss or damage to the goods of passengers travelling in the trains, non-delivery of the goods, thefts, accidents causing injuries and death of the passengers as well as of the common people and many more issues. Substantive liability of the Railway Administration for these issues is laid down in the Railway Act, 1989.
This act provides the speedy justice to the rail users and passengers by way of expeditious payment of compensation to the victims of rail accidents, to give compensation to the people whose goods are lost or damaged while with railways. To provide better access to the people across the country, various benches of the tribunal are established in the country.
Jurisdiction of the Tribunal: The Railway Claims Tribunal exercises all such jurisdiction, powers, and authority as were exercisable immediately by any Civil Court or a Claims Commissioner appointed under the provisions of the Railways Act which are related to the responsibility of the railway administrations as carriers under Chapter VII of the Railways Act in respect of claims related to:
- Compensation for loss, destruction, damages, deterioration or non-delivery of animals or goods entrusted to a railway administration for carriage by railway,
- Compensation is payable under Sec. 124 & 124A of the Railways Act of the rules made thereunder; and
- Claims for refund of fares or part thereof or for the refund of any freight paid in respect of animals or goods entrusted to a railway administration to be carried by railway.
- The RCT (Railway Claims Tribunal) to provide better access to justice for the people has its benches throughout the nation. There are basically 21 benches of the RCT (including the principal bench at Delhi) at 18 major cities.
Procedure Followed by the Railway Claims Tribunal
- Section 18 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 talks about the procedure and powers of Claims Tribunal.
- The Claims Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure which is laid down by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908).
- But, it shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and subject to other provisions of the Act and of any rules.
- The Claim Tribunal is having the power to regulate its own procedure including the fixing of places and times of its inquiry.
Power of the Railway Claims Tribunal: The Section 18 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987 mentions that for the purpose of discharging its functions under this Act, it shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, while trying a suit.
Compensation: The Railway Claims Tribunal provides quick reliefs and early payments of compensation in the following cases.
- For loss, destruction, damage, deterioration, non-delivery of animal/goods booked by railway or for the refund of fare or freight in case the claimant is not satisfied with the relief that was provided by the railway administration.
- Death and injury in case of railway accident & untoward, in this case, the claimant has to file the claim directly before the Railway Claims Tribunal.
Acts and Rules governing the Railway Claims Tribunal
1) The Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987:-
- the jurisdiction, powers, and authority which may be exercised by the Claims Tribunal;
- the procedure (including provisions as to limitation) to be followed by the Claims Tribunal;
- the exclusion of jurisdiction of all Courts exercising ordinary civil jurisdiction relating to specified claims for compensation and refund against the railway administration;
- the transfer to the Claims Tribunal of any suit or other proceeding, other than an appeal pending before any Court or other authority immediately before the establishment of such Claims Tribunal as would have been within the jurisdiction of such Claims Tribunal if the cause of action on which such suits or proceedings are based has arisen after such establishment.
2)The Railway Claims Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1989:
- These are the rules made by the Central Government dealing with the procedure for filing applications, application fees, the document to accompany the application, and other rules.
3)The Railway Accidents And Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules, 1990:
- These are the rules made by the Central Government dealing with the claim of compensation, limit of compensation given in the case of the Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents.
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