Railways (Amendment) Bill, 2014

On August 7, 2014 the Railway (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was introduced in the Lok Sabha. The object of the Bill is to amend the Railways Act, 1989. The Bill seeks to prevent the filing of larger number of duplicate cases of compensation claims in different benches of Railways Claims Tribunals and excludes the liability of Railways in accidental falling from the ambit of untoward incident and categorise it separately.

The Bill amends Section 109 of the Act to make the railway administration where the accident occurred, a party before the Claims Tribunal to prevent the filing of duplicate and false claims against different Railways for the same loss or injury.  The Bill defines ‘accidental falling’ to exclude (i) passengers falling from train while trying to enter or leave a moving train, (ii) passengers falling from the train while standing near the door or opening the door of a moving train, (iii) any person endangering the safety of other passengers willfully or by neglect, or (iv) any person traveling on roof, step or engine of a train or any part not meant for passengers even after being warned by a railway official. The Bill provides that in the course of working a railway, the railway administration shall be liable to pay compensation for loss occasioned by the death of, or injury to, a passenger as a result of “accidental falling”, whether or not there has been any wrongful act, neglect or default on the part of the railway administration. The Bill also provides that no compensation shall be payable by the railway administration if the passenger dies or suffers injury due to suicide or attempted suicide by him; self-inflicted injury; his own criminal act; his own carelessness or negligence and any act committed by him in a state of intoxication or insanity.

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways has invited suggestions/comments/views from the public, NGOs, experts and stakeholders on the Bill.

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