Governance · Society

Indian Railways: The Lifeline for Common Man

If you are travelling in a train and if some theft, Dacoity, snatching or some other crime happened to you while travelling, than you can register your complaint by obtaining a F.I.R form from TTI, rail conductor, coach railway servant or from GRP Police. After obtaining form you can fill the details of incident and submit it to any of the person from whom you obtained the form. There should not be any delay in filing of FIR. According to Railway Act, 1989 when in the course of working a railway, an accident occurs  being either a collision between trains of which one is a train carrying passengers or the derailment of or other accident to a train the railway administration shall be liable to pay compensation to such extent as may be prescribed.1 No compensation shall be payable by the railway administration if the passenger dies or suffers injury due to2

(a) suicide or attempted suicide by him;

(b) self-inflicted injury;

(c) his own criminal act;

(d) any act committed by him in a state of intoxication or insanity;

(e) any natural cause or disease or medical or surgical treatment unless such treatment becomes necessary due to injury caused by the said untoward incident.

Railways Act, 1989 also provide for punishment (to the extent of Rs 500)  to passenger who enter a compartment wherein no berth or seat has been reserved by a railway administration for his use.3 Travelling on roof, step or engine of train is punishable with imprisonment of three months and fine.4   It also provide for punishment to people who are involved in destruction or property of railways and rails. As per Act , 1989 if any person is involved in removing or displacing any rail, sleeper or other matter or things belonging to railway on first offence the person shall be convicted for three years and next time for 7 years.5

Railway Protection Force (RPF) is different from GRP Police. Railway protection force has jurisdiction of cases over petty issues. The person authorized by Centre Government as per Railway Act, 1989 according to section 179 has power to arrest any person without warrant if the person is involved obstructing  railway servant from his duty and interfering with means of communication in a Train6.

The most interesting part of Railways Act, 1989 is that it provides for prohibition of Hawking and Begging in Trains and provides for punishment which may extent to one year and fine of Rupees 2000.7  It can be observed from Railways Act, 1989 that it is a well drafted legislation but it becomes difficult in recent times to implement it. Railway security unit/cell is always vigilant and a passenger can contact them 24 hours. It is well said by someone that Prevention is Better than cure.

1 Section 124 of Railways Act, 1989

2 Section 124A of Railways Act, 1989

3 Section 155 of Railways Act, 1989

4 Section 156 of railways Act, 1989

5 Section 150 of Railways Act, 1989

6 Section 179 of Railways Act, 1989

7 Section 144 of Railways Act, 1989

About the Author

kushKush Kalra

Kush is a practicing lawyer at Delhi High Court. He graduated from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab, India in 2012 and has authored a book titled – Be Your Own Lawyer.

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