THE RAILWAY Claims Tribunal took into account the ‘ex-gratia’ amount given to victims of the Elphinstone Road stampede along with other factors to arrive at the conclusion that the Western Railway (WR) should pay compensation to them. After the incident which took place on a Foot Overbridge at the station on September 29, the WR and the state government had announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the kin of deceased victims and Rs 50,000 for those with injuries.
Rajan Sharma, the vice-chairman of the tribunal, who was part of the bench which decided the claims on Tuesday, said this payment of the amount after the accident to the victims showed that they admitted to their fault in the case. “We also took into account the nature of injuries based on the documents of King Edward Hospital where the victims were admitted after the incident,” Sharma said. The WR had not contested the claims made by the victims of the stampede since it was an exceptional case.
The documents submitted by applicants include the Accidental Death Report filed by the police. Sharma said that the claims were decided as per provisions of the Railway Act, which prescribed compensation only upto Rs 7 lakh for those with injuries and Rs 8 lakh for the kin of deceased victims. He added that while other Acts, including the Motor Vehicle Act, has a provision for greater amount of compensation, the tribunal could only grant compensation as defined within the Railway Act.
On Tuesday, the tribunal awarded compensation to 36 victims —17 dead and 19 injured persons. It had received compensation claims of 39 victims. “One of the remaining claimants had made a wrong submission in the document, while the kin of an injured victim submitted that he cannot be present before the tribunal due to his injury. We have appointed a local commissioner to go to the victim’s residence and submit a report on the injuries for us to grant appropriate compensation,” Sharma said. The two claims will be decided next month.