Citizens' Issues
Moneylife Foundation rejects proposed ‘anti-passenger’ amendments in Railways Bill
Samir Zaveri Railway Helpline of Moneylife Foundation has opposed the amendments related with redefining ‘accidental falling’, which aims to put entire blame on the commuter and ‘compensation’ paid to victims or her family, in Railways (Amendment) Bill, 2014 
 
An amendment has recently been proposed to the Railways [Amendment] Bill (no.91 of 2014) which would redefine what would be considered a case of “accidental falling” in Railway accidents, and also make changes to the eligibility criteria for passengers (or their dependents) to claim compensation in the aftermath of an accident. The Samir Zaveri Railway Helpline through Moneylife Foundation has opposed the amendment, for the simple reason that it goes against the interest of railway commuters, especially those who travel daily on Mumbai Suburban Rail Network (Mumbai locals). 
 
The amendment has proposed that cases where a passenger suffers an accident while trying to enter or exit a train in motion would be ineligible for demanding compensation. The amendment also proposes that passengers who have suffered injuries due to “negligence” or “carelessness” will not be provided any compensation. Perhaps they have forgotten that a massive 75 lakh commuters use the Mumbai locals on a daily basis in rather inhuman conditions, constantly battling with delays and overcrowding. Not just that, there are over 6,000 accidents reported every year in which there are over 3,300 deaths.
 
In the proposed amendment (Section 123 of the Principal Act), any case of “accident falling” would exclude - “a passenger falling from a train while entering or leaving or attempting to enter or leave any carriage while the train in in motion, or elsewhere that at the side of the carriage adjoining the platform, or other place appointed by the railway administration for passengers to enter or leave the carriage, or while standing near the door or opens the door of any carriage while the train is in motion...” 
 
In short, this clause simply excludes most of the passengers (especially those who travel during rush hours in Mumbai locals) from being eligible for receiving any compensation in case of an accident.
 
Furthermore, the amendment seeks to overturn a path-breaking judgement of the Bombay High Court that followed a 13-year long litigation by a gutsy woman whose husband passed away in a railway accident. In this case, the High Court order (First Appeal No 118 of 2010/Madhuri & others vs Union of India/GM-Western Railway) clarified the meaning of ‘untoward incident’ as “the accidental falling of any passenger from a train carrying passengers”
 
It must be noted that the Station Master on duty files the first report in Railway accident case, and what goes into the report is entirely up to him/her. While dependents of the victims have no say in what is being entered into the records, the situation is worse for passengers travelling alone, because there is no witness to prove their account of the incident. 
 
Next, according to the Section 124B of the proposed amendment, a passenger is not eligible for compensation under four circumstances – suicide or attempted suicide by him; self-inflicted injury; his own criminal act; and his own carelessness or negligence. 
 
In the first case (suicide or attempt to suicide), Moneylife Foundation is of the opinion that in the absence of a suicide note, accidents should not be declared as a case of suicide. 
 
In the second case (self-inflicted injury), it needs to be ensured that such cases are not passed off as incidents of trespassing. In fact, it is the Railways' responsibility to ensure proper fencing across railway tracks, proper platform heights, overhead bridges and walkways free of hawkers for people to walk on. 
 
In the third and fourth case (his own criminal act or his own carelessness or negligence), the onus of proof must lie on the Railways, and not the passenger. Since the contents of the accident report are entirely up to the railway officers, it is very easy to suggest that accidents were caused by negligence on part of the passengers, and then leave it up to them to fight the hard battle of proving themselves innocent while also suffering a huge personal and monetary loss. 
 
Rather than taking steps to ensure safety of passengers – some of which have been promised for many years, like increased frequency of trains during peak hours, efforts to reduce overcrowding in trains, additional tracks and closed doors in carriages – an amendment has been proposed. The amendment only serves to shift the blame for the several deaths in Railway accidents on to the hapless passengers and allow the Railways to go scot-free. 

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COMMENTS

Adi Daruwalla

2 years ago

The primary requirement is to be fulfilled by the government, i.e. provide increased and safe services. After collecting fares and taxes for 60 years, this is the basic requirement. Increased services will reduce the rush and incrase means increase not just in numbers or printing, but in reality. Tracks incrase has had no difference in the last 8 - 10 years. There is no genuine display of wanting to provide to the customer service or safety.

B. Yerram Raju

2 years ago

Perhaps it would be wise for the Railway Minister to add in the passenger fare a nominal insurance fees across all classes of passengers by tying up with the GIC and provide relief to the victims of any accident instantaneously. The terms of insurance should be publicly displayed. The responsibility shall not be on the passenger for raising the claim. It is more a cushion for the Railways.

Sanjeev

2 years ago

Agreed with Sameer Jhaveri views,

Need to take matter with Shri Suresh Prabhu our honorable Railway Minsiter

Sunil

2 years ago

Need to circulate this in all offices so that all commuters are aware of this. Will start by circulating this story on our office mail system

jossie

2 years ago

why in the first place do they want to amend the act. Is it because the insurance premium is rising or claim increasing

Samir Zaveri

2 years ago

Yes, Instead of preferring such anti=passengers amendment, Railway senior officers must ensure zero deaths and proper safety and security standards.

Bhaskar Raut

2 years ago

The proposed amendment should be opposed by all the daily commuters of Mumbai Suburban.




nocermathew

2 years ago

Hi Friends, Money Life Foundations foundings feels correct.No human being will make suicide to get money.The suicide mostly happens with a seconds thoght and will not never in Trains.
Railway must introduce more trains,Automatic Doors to clause before starting trains and strict observations in crossing rail Lines will reduce the cases of accidents.We can cooperate with railways to reduce accidents.
nocermathew Executive Director [email protected]

AIB Roast: Court asks to file FIR against Karan Johar, Deeepika Padukone, Aalia Bhat, Ranvir Singh & Arjun Kapoor

Bollywood celebrities like Karan Johar, Ranvir Singh, Deepika Padukone, Aalia Bhatt, Arjun Kapoor and film critic Rajeev Masand are among 14 named as accused in a case filed by a social activist questioning both the content of the controversial AIB ‘Roast’ and the venue of the event, which is a stadium built on government land for sports events 

 

A Metropolitan Court in Mumbai has asked Tardeo Police Station to file a first information report (FIR) against 14 persons, including officials of National Sports Club of India (NSCI), the comedians of AIB Roast and a bunch of Bollywood celebrities such as Karan Johar, Deeepika Padukone, Ranvir Singh, Aalia Bhat and Arjun Kapoor. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate CS Baviskar also directed Police to submit the investigation report in the matter.
 
The case related to All India Bac***d (AIB) Roast, a controversial event that involved hurling obscenities at celebrities, in a new genre of comedy that hasn’t gone down well with a large section of the people. In fact, a video of the event was taken down hastily by the organisers, who run a stand-up comedy company — but not before it saw a record number of views on YouTube. The ‘roast’ itself was aimed a set of ‘cool’ Bollywood personalities, who allowed themselves to be the butt of these “vulgar’ and “obscene” jokes at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium on 20th January in Mumbai.
 
Social activist Santosh Daundkar approached the Court after the police failed to register an FIR based on his complaint. Advocate Abha Singh, counsel for Daundkar says, in this programme (AIB Roast) the comedians  “blurted out pre-scripted, vulgar, pornographic and obscene jokes”. 
 
"Of late, a large number of crimes against women are being influenced by such obscene and pornographic happenings. When we talk of women safety, it becomes the bounden duty of such Bollywood celebs to create congenial conditions rather than to make things worse," she said.
 
The lawyer also objected to the use of a government land leased to the NSCI for the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium. She said, "How could a vulgar, pornographic and obscene programme be held on a land leased out by the government on the condition that the same be used for sports, sports functions of the schools and the programmes of the Municipal Corporation."
 
Talking about the freedom of speech, Adv Singh said, "How could the votaries of freedom of speech justify these acts, when they have no respect for the law. If they think that law on obscenity is improper and constrains freedom of speech and expression then the right course for them is to approach the government for changing the law. On such presumptions, in a country governed by the eminent principles of "Rule of Law", these votaries of free speech cannot take law in their own hands and then utter pornographic words in front of women audience, more so at the time when the entire country is concerned with women safety."
 
She has urged the Mumbai Police to abide by its statutory responsibility in conducting a detailed investigation and book all the culprits who participated in this criminal conspiracy and acts done with a common intention.
 
Those mentioned as accused in the social activist’s complaint are: 
1. Jayantilal Shah, President, NSCI
2. Ravinder Aggarwal, Secretary General, NSCI
3. Organisers of AIB Roast Programme held at the NSCI
4. Karan Johar
5. Ranvir Singh
6. Rohan Joshi
7. Tanmay Bhatt
8. Gursimran Khamba
9. Ashish Shakya
10. Aditi Mittal
11. Deepika Padukone
12. Aalia Bhatt
13. Rajeev Masand
14. Arjun Kapoor
 
 

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Teesta Setalvad's arrest stayed till Friday

Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand rushed to the Supreme Court within an hour of the High Court dismissing their plea for a stay on its order to allow them time to move the Supreme Court

 

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed till Friday the arrest of social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband. The order came soon after Gujarat High Court rejected anticipatory bail plea of the couple in a case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at Gulbarg society, devastated in the 2002 riots.
 
A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand would be protected from the arrest till the matter is heard on Friday.
 
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal orally mentioned about the imminent arrest of the couple, soon after Gujarat High Court rejected their anticipatory bail.
 
Sibal along with advocate Aparna Bhat mentioned the plea, when the bench, which also comprised justices AK Sikri and Arun Mishra, was hearing another case.
 
The lawyers said the police was at their doorstep and hell bent to arrest them. This is "an extraordinary situation" and therefore should be heard urgently, they said.
 
The bench said that the appeal against the High Court decision could be filed in the course of the day.
 
The couple rushed to the apex court within an hour of the High Court dismissing their plea for a stay on its order to allow them time to move the Supreme Court.
 
The High Court also observed that Setalvad was not cooperating in the probe and "they cannot be armoured with full-fledged anticipatory bail when applicant did not cooperate with the investigation."
 
Setalvad and her husband have been booked by the Crime Branch of Gujarat Police on charges of cheating, breach of trust and under the IT Act, in a matter relating to the construction of "Museum of Resistance" in the Gulbarg society in Ahmedabad which was hit by communal riot in 2002.
 

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COMMENTS

VijayTrimbakGokhale

2 years ago

Let the law take it's own course without political interference. But let the investigating authorities ensure that law must and takes it's due course. Truth should prevail. The criticism of political witch hunt, in any case, will be made.

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