Kerala High Court Criticizes Delay in Compensation Case

LI Network

Published on: 21 July 2023 at 19:51 IST

The Kerala High Court has reprimanded the Indian Railways for the delayed resolution of a citizen’s grievance concerning a bullet injury sustained due to a misfire by a railway policeman.

In the case of Manaf M v Union of India & Ors, Justice PV Kunhikrishnan criticized the Railways for needlessly engaging the victim in litigation and stressed the importance of promptly addressing such complaints to bolster public trust.

While acknowledging the Railway’s efforts in introducing fast trains like ‘Vande Bharat’, ‘Rajdhani’, and ‘Jan Shatabdi’, the court urged the authorities to also address citizens’ grievances efficiently, without resorting to prolonged legal battles. “Railway ought to have redressed these types of grievances of the citizens also in speed track to build confidence in the citizen without dragging citizens to litigation,” the judge emphasized.

The High Court’s ruling ordered the Railways to compensate the petitioner with ₹8.2 lakh for the sustained injuries. The court also expressed disapproval of the railway authority’s decision to contest the petitioner’s plea for enhanced compensation.

In the incident that occurred in 2012, the petitioner suffered a bullet injury to his abdomen while approaching the reservation counter at Thampanoor Railway Station in Thiruvananthapuram. The railway police officer’s misfire led to this unfortunate event.

Initially, the railway authorities offered ₹1.20 lakh as compensation after setting up a special board to review the case. However, the petitioner contended that this amount was insufficient to compensate for the trauma he endured due to the injury. Consequently, he approached the High Court seeking an increased compensation amount of ₹20 lakh.

Citing permanent disability and an inability to lead a normal life, the petitioner argued that the incident resulted from gross negligence and carelessness on the part of the railway policeman.

While the Railways questioned the maintainability of the petition, asserting that ₹1.20 lakh was already offered as compensation, the High Court disagreed with their stance. The court questioned whether the amount offered was adequate to compensate the petitioner adequately for the suffered trauma.

After examining the petitioner’s medical records and considering the extent of his trauma, the court ruled in favor of the petitioner, awarding him a total compensation amount of ₹8.20 lakh. The judgment also stated that the petitioner was entitled to interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of the incident.

Advocates A Abdul Kharim and M Sreekumar represented the petitioner, while advocates C Dinesh, TC Govinda Swamy, and G Shyam Raj represented the respondent authorities, including the Union of India, the Southern Railways, Chennai, the Division Manager of the Thiruvananthapuram division of the Southern Railways, and a Railways constable.

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