Railways Act, 1989

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Railways Act, 1989

The Railways Act, 1989 is an Act of the Parliament of India which regulates all aspects of rail transport. The Act came into force from 1989. It replaced the Railways Act, 1890. The Act provides in detail the legislative provisions regarding railway zones, construction and maintenance of works, passenger and employee services.


Accident coverage

According to the act , any accident attended with loss of any human life, or with grievous hurt, as defined in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), or with such serious injury to property as may be prescribed; or • any collision between trains of which one is a train carrying passengers; or

• the derailment of any train carrying passengers, or of any part of such train; or

• any accident of a description usually attended with loss of human life or with such grievous hurt as aforesaid or with serious injury to property; or

• any accident of any other description which the Central Government may notify in this behalf in the Official Gazette, occurs, the station master of the station nearest to the place at which the accident occurs or where there is no station master, the railway servant in charge of the section of the railway on which the accident occurs, shall, without delay, give notice of the accident to the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, within whose jurisdiction the accident occurs, the officer in charge of the police station within the local limits of which the accident occurs and to such other Magistrate or police officer as may be appointed in this behalf by the Central Government.

• The railway administration within whose jurisdiction the accident occurs, as also the railway administration to whom the train involved in the accident belongs, shall without delay, give notice of the accident to the State Government and the Commissioner having jurisdiction over the place of the accident.

Section 117 Of Railways Act, 1989

Statement made before Commissioner

No statement made by a person in the course of giving evidence in an inquiry before the Commissioner shall subject him to, or be used against him in,any civil or criminal proceeding, except a prosecution for giving false evidence by such statement: Provided that the statement is— (a) made in reply to a question which is required by the Commissioner to answer; or (b) relevant to the subject-matter of the inquiry.

Cases Related To This Section

Union Of India & Ors vs Yadunandan Roy & Ors on 21 September, 2010

PRESENT THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE SHIVA KIRTI SINGH THE HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE HEMANT KUMAR SRIVASTAVA Shiva Kirti Singh & Hemant Kumar Srivastava, JJ. Both the writ petitions raise a common question of law with a view to challenge the correctness and legality of impugned orders passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal, Patna Bench, Patna. In the case of Bidya Nand Choudhary, the impugned order is dated 3.6.2005 (Annexure-4) passed in OA No.697 of 2004. In the other case also the impugned order is dated 3.6.2005 but passed in OA No.764/2002 filed by the two petitioners of the other case, Yadunandan Roy and Balkishan Roy.

In both the cases the learned Tribunal noticed that the charge-sheet relied only upon statement made by the concerned employees before the Justice G. N. Ray Commission which was admittedly constituted under Section 6 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 in relation to a railway accident on 1.2.1999 involving collision between Awadh Assam Express and Brahmputra Mail at Gaisal within Katihar Division. The Tribunal found that use of statements made by the concerned employees / delinquent was not permissible in view of provisions in Section 117 of the Indian Railways Act.

Before considering the aforesaid submission, it is relevant to point out that Section 117 is applicable only in case of evidence in an inquiry before the Commissioner as defined under the Railways Act, 1989 and not before the Commissioner appointed under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. However, this fact would not have any material effect on the outcome of these writ petitions because Section 6 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 is same as Section 117 of the Railways Act, 1989. In the facts of the case, we find no good reason to interfere with the views of the learned Tribunal. Both the writ petitions are, therefore, dismissed. It is again made clear that the petitioners will have the liberty as given by the learned Tribunal to proceed against the delinquent employees if they so like. No order as to costs.

Section 118 Of Railways Act, 1989

Procedure, etc.

Any railway administration or the Commissioner conducting an inquiry under this Chapter may send notice of the inquiry to such persons, follow such procedure, and prepare the report in such manner as may be prescribed. Or, According to the above section , whenever an inquiry takes place then the administration or the Commissioner who are conducting that inquiry may send notice of the inquiry to such persons follow such procedure, and prepare the report in such manner as may be prescribed.

Cases Related To This Section

B. Durga Prasad vs Emperor on 19 December, 1935

This is a criminal revision from a conviction under Section 109, Railways Act. The accused, a Sub-Inspector of Police, on 7th July 1934, entered a compartment occupied by the ice-vendor with his ice, aerated waters, &c. which compartment had been entered in the Guard's Constitution Book as reserved for the ice-vendor and on the outside of which the words "Ice-Vendor" were stencilled. The guard of the train when informed of it warned the accused that he was occupying the compartment reserved for the ice-vendor and asked him to vacate it. The accused maintained that the compartment was not reserved for the ice-vendor and declined to vacate it. A report was made to the station police but neither they nor the Assistant Station Master succeeded in persuading the accused to leave the compartment though the train had to be detained for some 23 minutes at Rtawah. Again at Cawnpore a similar request was made by the station authorities to the accused to get out of the compartment but he refused to do so. The accused got down at Allahabad where a complaint was lodged against him and he also made a counter-report. On these facts the accused was convicted under the Railways Act. The learned Sessions Judge agreed that the conviction was right and declined to interfere in revision. It is too late in the day now to contend that the compartment had not in fact been reserved for the ice-vendor. This fact was established by the entry in the Guards Constitution Book and by the words "ice-vendor" stencilled on the outside. The learned Counsel for the accused has, however, argued that the railway authorities had no power to reserve a whole compartment for an ice-vendor (without charging for the full fare payable by 18 passengers.) It is on account of the importance of this question that the case has been referred to this Bench. 2. The contention that before reservation the fare for the full compartment should have been charged has no force. The railway authorities have now produced before us the original contract signed by the Agent on a printed and approved form under which the company was allowed the use of a reserved compartment for an ice-vendor and his accompaniments in a running train on condition of supplying to the passengers cool drinks. If the fact were now to be disputed, we would be compelled to ask the Court below to take evidence to prove this written agreement; but the genuineness of the contract cannot be seriously disputed. Indeed, it is a well-known fact that on passenger trains, particularly during the hot weather, ice-vendors have compartments reserved for them for the supply of cool drinks just as dining cars run on some trains for supplying meals. In summer months it is absolutely necessary for the convenience of passengers that cool drinks and ice should be available. We think that the railway 'authorities have power to reserve a compartment for an ice-vendor for the comfort and convenience of the travelling public. In Emperor v. Brij Basi Lal 1920 42 All 327, a Bench of this Court went so far as to hold that the Railway Authorities have power to-set apart a compartment for Europeans or Anglo-Indians. It is not necessary to examine the correctness of that ruling and to consider whether such a reservation would not offend against the provisions of Section 42, Railways Act assuming that the section would apply to passenger traffic as well. But there can be no doubt that the railway authorities can set apart carriages or compartments which are not for the use of ordinary passengers, particularly so if such setting apart is for their convenience and com- fort. An ice-vendor's compartment is like a dining car and is meant for supplying cool drinks during the hot season. Such facilities are an absolute necessity for the travelling public and there would be considerable inconvenience and discomfort if there were no such provisions on running trains. It is equally important from the point of view of health and hygiene that the compartment from where drinks are to be supplied should be free from all contagion and infection. 3. This would not be possible if members of the general public were allowed to occupy it. Again, there would be danger to passengers from the accidental bursting of soda water bottles, if they were to travel in the same compartment. If, therefore, the railway authorities set apart a compartment for the ice-vendor appointed by a company which has entered into a contract with them to provide drinks, such a compartment would no longer be one which is open to the general travelling public. It would be just like a guard's van or the Driver's engine room in which the public cannot claim a right to travel, even though they hold tickets. Even where the train is full, there is no inherent right in a ticket-holder to enter into that part of the train which is not meant for the general public. He must wait for the next train or claim a refund. The mere fact that the ice-vendor's pass did not clearly indicate that he had the whole compartment reserved for him is not material, as there was a writing put on the compartment and the accused was repeatedly warned that it was such a reserved compartment. If the ice-vendor be treated as a passenger for whom a compartment had been validly reserved, then the conviction of the accused under Section 109 would be correct. But it seems more appropriate to regard the ice-vendor's compartment as a part of the train which is not meant for passengers. The offence would therefore most appropriately fall under Section 118, Railways Act. As the facts have been clearly found by the Magistrate, and the accused cannot in any way be prejudiced, we alter the conviction of the accused to one under Section 118 and maintain the sentence. The application is accordingly dismissed.

3 Cases With Their judgements

Case 1

Hemiben Ladhabhai Bhanderi vs Saurashtra Gramin Bank on 3 February, 2020


This appeal arises from a judgment of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission1 dated 25 October 2018 in a revision from an order of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Gujarat 2. The spouse of the appellant, Ladhabhai Thakarsibhai Bhanderi, was an account holder with the first respondent at its Dhutarpur Branch in the District of Jamnagar in Gujarat. Oriental Insurance Company Limited had launched a ‘group individual accident policy’ for the account holders of the Bank. Under the terms of the agreement between the insurer and the Bank, the account holder was required to submit a form to the concerned officer of the Bank in order to avail of an insurance cover. The Bank would Signature Not Verified deduct an amount of Rs 100 as premium from the account holder and Digitally signed by SUSHMA KUMARI BAJAJ Date: 2020.02.10 17:49:34 IST Reason: forward it to the insurer. An insurance cover of Rs 5 lakhs was offered. The case of the appellant is that on 21 July 2008, her spouse obtained an insurance form from the Bank and submitted it to its Manager. He met with an accident on 1 August 2008 while travelling on his motorcycle and succumbed to his injuries on 11 August 2008. Based on a case of accidental death, the appellant claimed an entitlement to receive a compensation of Rs 5 lakhs under the insurance claim. The insurer repudiated the claim on the ground that the premium had not been forwarded by the Bank together with the form. The Bank took the objection that the form had not been submitted in time by the deceased and that after submitting it initially on 28 July 2008, he had taken it back to discuss the matter with his relatives. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum3 allowed the complaint on 28 January 2013 and came to the conclusion that the Bank had been negligent in not forwarding the form submitted by the deceased to the insurer within time after completion of all the formalities. There being no insurance cover, the insured was held not to be liable. The Bank was directed to pay the appellant an amount of Rs 5 lakhs with interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from 20 August 2009 together with an additional amount of Rs 2,000 towards mental agony ad Rs1,500 towards costs. The order was confirmed in appeal by the SCDRC on 28 June 2013. In a revision filed by the Bank, the NCDRC reiterated the finding that the insurer could not be held liable in the absence of an insurance cover. However, the Bank was held guilty of a deficiency of service and was directed to pay an amount of Rs 2 lakhs (instead of Rs 5 lakhs as awarded 3 District Forum by the consumer fora) within a period of 45 days. The appellant, as the legal heir of the deceased, is hence in appeal. The submission which has been urged on behalf of the appellant is that the NCDRC has accepted the position that the Bank was guilty of a deficiency of service. However, it was urged that the amount of compensation has been reduced from Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 2 lakhs without any justification. On the other hand, it has been urged on behalf of the first respondent that the Bank had all along taken the defence that the form, though initially filled up on 28 July 2008, had been taken back by the deceased and that it was resubmitted only after office hours on 9 August 2008. In the meantime, as a result of the accident which took place on 1 August 2008, the account holder died on 10 August 2008 of which the Bank was intimated on the next day. In these circumstances, it was urged that there was no deficiency of service on the part of the Bank. The Bank has complied with the order of the NCDRC by handing over a cheque in an amount of Rs 2 lakhs to the appellant. The appellant has declined to encash the cheque of Rs 2 lakhs paid towards compensation on the ground that she is entitled to the full compensation of Rs 5 lakhs as awarded by the District Forum. Insofar as the deficiency of service on the part of the Bank is concerned, there are concurrent findings. The NCDRC confirmed that there was a deficiency of service on the part of the Bank. Before it, the Bank admitted that no receipt was given by it to anyone depositing the application form. As a matter of fact, it has also emerged from the record that three persons Rasik Gordhanbhai Dobariya, Harjibhai Bhanderi and the spouse of the appellant had submitted forms on the same day which had Serial Nos 351, 352 and 353. The defence of the Bank that the deceased had withdrawn the form and that it was eventually submitted on 9 August 2008, when a fresh Serial No 358 was allotted has been rejected by the District Forum and by the SCDRC. The NCDRC has observed that the Bank has not explained the details of the application form mentioned at Serial No 352. There is a specific finding of fact that it was the failure of the Bank to deduct the premium and to pay it over the insurer which resulted in the insurer repudiating the claim on the ground that no insurance cover existed. No insurance cover came into existence. There are concurrent findings of fact by the three fora. We have no reason to take a different view, particularly, when the Bank has not challenged the judgment of the NCDRC. The Bank’s explanations are an eye-wash and a thinly disguised attempt to defeat a legitimate grievance. There was an evident deficiency of service on its part. Evidently, there was a deficiency of service on the part of the Bank in failing to forward the application form to the insurer and in deducting the insurance premium on time. Had the Bank not been deficient in the performance of its services, the deceased would have been entitled to an insurance cover in the same terms as was provided by the insurer to all other account holders desirous of obtaining insurance. We are accordingly of the view that there was no justification for the NCDRC to reduce the award of compensation against the Bank from Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 2 lakhs. The ends of justice would be met if the amount of compensation is enhanced from Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 5 lakhs which shall be paid over to the appellant within a period of 60 days from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order.

Case 2

Syed Gulzar Hussain & Ors vs Dewan Syed Ale Rasul Ali Khan & Ors on 20 February, 1947

We are, in these cases, primarily concerned with the resolution of a dispute between the Dewan Sajjadanashin and Khadims of the Holy Shrine of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti at Ajmer with regard to the sharing of Nazrana offered by the pilgrims visiting the Holy Shrine. Petitioners submit that the High Court, while deciding the above issue, practically framed a Scheme for the implementation of the final decree dated 3.5.1933 (as amended on 29.1.1940) in Civil Suit No. 9 of 1929 passed by the Additional District Judge, Ajmer-Merwana, Ajmer which, according to the petitioners, was not warranted and beyond the scope of the decree. 2. Petitioners, who claim to represent the entire group of Khadims, it is seen from the order impugned, themselves wanted the Court to make some suitable and permanent arrangement for the purpose of implementing the decree. Due to the long standing disputes between these two factions with regard to sharing of Nazrana, in fact, a proposal was mooted to appoint a Receiver, which the Executing Court as well as the High Court felt, it would not be in the best interest of all concerned and thought of making some interim arrangement with the junction of Durgah Committee, a body constituted under Section 4 of the Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act, 1955. The powers and duties of the Durgah Committee have been enunciated in Section 11 of the Act. The functions and duties of Khadims also find a place in the bye-law no. 13 framed vide notification dated 16.10.1958 by the Committee in exercise of its powers conferred under Section 20 of the Act. 3. The Durgah of Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti, as already indicated, is a holy Shrine where, every day, a large number of pilgrims/visitors from the country and outside, visit and offer their prayers and pay donations in the form of cash, kabarposh, implements, animals etc. at different places of Durgah for various religious purposes. Every day, certain rituals are also performed by Khadims within the Dome of the Shrine at the beginning, to the end and during the course of the day. The decree passed in Civil Suit No. 9 of 1929 also recognizes the rights of Dewan in respect of offerings made at the Durgah, the details of which have elaborately been dealt with in the impugned order itself and hence not repeated. The history of the Holy Shrine as well as the rights of the Durgah Committee, Khadims and Dewan have also been dealt with by this Court in Durgah Committee, Ajmer and Another v. Syed Hussain Ali and Others AIR 1961 SC 1402. Noticing the various directions contained in the decree, as well as the judgment of this Court and also taking note of the request of the Khadims themselves, the High Court thought of making some suitable arrangements for the purpose of implementing the decree. The following are the directions given by the High Court: i) As regards the adjudication of the rights contained in para A(ii), it is directed that the Nazim on behalf of Durgah Committee shall take the custody of the offerings or presents of gold or silver vessels or implements or kabarposhes that may be offered by the visitors/pilgrims for the use of Durgah. The Nazim or his representative shall remain present inside the dome of the shrine to collect such offerings and presents. In case, the Khadims/judgment debtors receive such offerings or presents from the visitors/pilgrims, they shall deposit the same in the office of the Nazim at the end of the day. It is needless to say that the office of the Nazim shall maintain regular accounts/records of such offerings/presents, and keep in safe custody till any decision is taken by the Durgah Committee for their disposal/use; ii) As regards the declaration of rights contained in para A(iii) and (iv), it is directed that there shall be kept iron boxes for donations, big and sufficient in number, at different places inside and outside the dome of the shrine, more particularly at the pit near the grave inside the dome, to enable the visitors/pilgrims to put their cash/valuable offerings in such boxes. Such boxes shall have the locks and the keys thereof would be kept in the custody of the Nazim; iii) The Nazim shall hand over all the offerings deposited in such boxes kept outside the dome of the shrine to the Khadims as their perquisites. However, the offerings of animals or such bulky articles made at the steps of the shrine shall be divided by the Nazim between the Dewan and the Khadim respectively in equal shares, at the end of the day. The Nazim in consultation with the Durgah Committee shall make necessary arrangement for collection of such bulky articles at the gates/entrances of the shrine and Durgah; iv) So far as the offerings deposited in the donation boxes kept inside the dome of the shrine are concerned, the Nazim, at the end of the day, shall maintain accounts and divide such offerings between the Dewan and the Khadims respectively in equal shares, irrespective of the spot at which they were deposited within the dome. Nazim may distribute such offerings on daily/weekly/ monthly basis after keeping proper accounts, in presence of the representatives of the Khadims and the Dewan. However, the Nazim shall hand over to the Khadims, the offerings of all coins not exceeding two annas in value irrespective of whether they are made of copper or any other metal and cowries and gold or silver articles (other than coins), of a value less than 8 annas and cotton cloth of inferior quality, and all offerings made between the hours of 4 A.M. to 4 P.M. on the last day of the Urs, as directed in the para A(iv) of the said decree; v) It is directed that the Nazim shall treat the cash or other offerings sent by post as the offerings made at the shrine i.e. within the dome, unless addressed specially to the Durgah Committee, the Dewan or the Khadims for their exclusive use, as directed in Para A(v) of the said decree; vi) It is further directed that the Khadims, their agents or servants shall not cause any obstruction either to the Nazim or his representative, or the judgment creditor, the Dewan or his representative, or any Member of the Durgah Committee to enter and sit inside/outside the dome of the shrine or the precincts of the Durgah, and shall cooperate the Nazim in implementing the directions given by this Court; vii) The Nazim shall display notice boards in Hindi, English and Urdu languages, at all gates of Durgah and at all visible and conspicuous places inside and outside the dome of the shrine, giving instructions to the visitors/pilgrims to put cash/valuable offerings in the donation boxes only and deposit their other offerings like kabarposhes, gold/silver articles, implements, animals at the office of Nazim only. viii) It is clarified that the Khadims – judgment debtors and the Dewan – the judgment creditor shall be at liberty to keep their duly authorized representatives, present on their behalf at the time when the donation boxes are opened, and their shares are divided by the Nazim. The Nazim also shall be at liberty to nominate any other person as his representative, with the consultation of the Members of the Durgah Committee for the purpose of carrying out these directions, in case of his inability to remain present on any particular day. ix) The Nazim shall be at liberty to approach this Court in case of any difficulty found in implementing the above stated directions; x) The Nazim shall be also at liberty to take help of the staff members and in case of need, help of police.” 4. Shri C.A. Sundaram, learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the petitioners have no serious objection with regard to direction nos. (i), (v) and (vi), but raised some objections with regard to direction nos. (ii), (iii), (iv) (vii) and (viii). 5. Shri F. S. Nariman, learned senior counsel appearing for the Dewan, submitted that the direction given by the High Court is an equitable one taking care of the interest of Khadims as well as Dewan and calls for no interference at this stage. 6. Shri Guru Krishnakumar, learned senior counsel appearing for the Durgah Committee, also took the same stand and submitted that the directions have been issued taking note of the interest of Khadims, Dewan as well as the overall interest of the pilgrims who visit the Holy Shrine. 7. We are of the view that, in a situation like this, the Court will have to take note of the overall interests of the Khadims, Dewan and Durgah Committee, with the pilgrims at its central stage. All the Khadims, Dewan and Durgah Committee, have got moral and legal obligation to account for the offerings made at the Holy Shrine, whether it is inside or outside the dome. The Holy Durgah at Ajmer is one of the most important places of pilgrimage for the Muslims of India and persons following other religions also hold the saint in great veneration and a large number of non-Muslims visit the Durgah every year from the country as well as outside. The main objection raised by the petitioners is that some of the directions given by the High Court are not workable in the sense, if the donations due to the Khadims are put in boxes, then it would not be possible for the Khadims to find out, to which Khadim the pilgrims have given a particular amount by way of donation for doing special offerings on their behalf. Further, it was pointed out that it is a customary practice that the pilgrims directly handover the amount in the hands of the Khadims, which the Khadims would share with Dewan, for which, it was stated by the learned senior counsel appearing for the petitioners, that they will keep separate accounts and, if necessary, in the presence of the Durgah Committee. 8. We may indicate that a pilgrim who goes to the Durgah and make donation, may be totally unaware as to how the donation is being divided between Khadims and Dewan. Normally, a pilgrim who makes an offering or makes any donation, expects the same to go to the Holy Shrine and its development and maintenance, not for the individual benefit of either the Khadim or Dewan. A pilgrim may give some amount directly either to Dewan or Khadim for his satisfaction if they are offering a special prayer on his behalf, which is altogether a different aspect. Necessity of proper accounting and transparency in the entire functioning of Durgah is highly necessary in the larger public interest with regard to entire amount received at the Shrine, whether it is inside or outside the dome or even the amount directly paid to the Khadims at the Shrine. Khadims, it is stated, have to share also with the Dewan the amounts they get, hence there is a necessity of the intervention of the Durgah Committee for the smooth and effective functioning of the Shrine, or else, constant disputes may crop up between both the groups, which is not in the best interest of the Holy Shrine. 9. In such circumstances, at this stage, we do not propose to make any modification in the directions already given by the High Court. Let the directions given by the High Court be given effect to, pending final adjudication of these cases and the modifications, if any, required can be examined later when the matter is finally adjudicated. The status-quo order passed by this Court is accordingly vacated.

Case 3

Binoy And Anr vs State Of Kerala on 13 February, 2015

On behalf of both the appellants, the initial submission is to the effect that their conviction for offences under Sections 324, 452 and 323, IPC is not justified by the prosecution evidence available on record. But on a perusal of the judgment of the trial court which convicted the appellants for offences under Sections 308, 452 and 323 read with Section 34 of the IPC as well as the appellate judgment by the High Court which altered the conviction under Section 308 IPC to one under Section 324 IPC and also reduced the sentences awarded by the trial court to rigorous imprisonment for six months under Section 324 IPC and R.I. for three months each under Sections 452 and 323 IPC, we find no merit in the aforesaid contention. Both the injured witnesses P.W.1 and 2 as well as P.W.8 have supported the prosecution case which also gets support from the injury reports of both the injured witnesses. Hence, we find no good reason to interfere with the conviction of the appellants. 3. The other issue raised on behalf of the appellants is that the High Court while allowing the appeal in part failed to give any reasons for not extending the benefit of Probation of Offenders Act to the appellants. The trial court, while considering the question of sentence, specifically held that considering the nature of the offences committed by the accused persons the Probation of Offenders Act cannot be invoked in their favour and there were no extenuating circumstances in favour of the accused persons. In appeal, the High Court has also noticed the serious allegation of use of sharp weapon such as sword by the accused persons who chased the injured and then caused incised injuries on their persons. Even then the High Court showed leniency by altering conviction under Section 308 IPC to one under Section 324 IPC. It also reduced sentence of three years to six months for Section 324 IPC and further reduced sentence of six months each under Section 323 IPC and three years each under Section 452 IPC to R.I. for a period of three months each under Sections 452 and 323 IPC. From the order of the trial court on the question of sentence it transpires that the only plea for showing leniency was a claim that the appellants have got aged mother. In the facts and circumstances, the view taken by the trial court for not extending the Probation of Offenders Act cannot be faulted and hence we find no good reason to interfere in the matter. Both the appeals which arise out of common judgment are, therefore, dismissed.