Mumbai Local News: “Can’t Render Railway Pass Invalid Or Passenger Ticketless Over…,” Says Bombay HC

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If you are a daily commuter of Mumbai local trains, the Bombay High Court (HC) recently made a notable judgement stating that mere non-production of identity card along with season ticket would not itself render a proper season ticket invalid.

On May 24, the HC judgment, reversed the May 6 order, and mentioned that unless it is proved that the passenger was using season ticket issued in the name of another person, a passenger producing a season pass without the accompanying ID alone would not “ipso facto” render it invalid.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by a man who fell from a train over 18 years ago in Dadar, and treated him as a bonafide passenger entitled to compensation.

According to reports, the man was travelling without a valid ID card with his season pass. In 2009, Harish Damodar, then aged 55, approached the HC to challenge a March 17, 2009, order of the tribunal that had rejected his claim. He said he had fallen from a train at around 5pm on January 25, 2004, at Dadar Railway Station due to heavy rush of commuters. He underwent six surgeries to his spine and pelvis at Sion hospital. He had claimed a compensation of INR 4 lakhs.

Accepting that an affidavit showing his season ticket, which was not rebutted by the Western Railway, proved his bona fides, a single judge bench of Justice S K Shinde directed the Railway Claims Tribunal to grant him compensation after verifying medical evidence he produced.

The tribunal held that he was travelling “without ticket” and thus concluded that he was not a bonafide passenger, and not entitled to compensation.

The Railways had relied on instructions issued by the ministry that required every passenger to produce identity card with the season pass, else the commuter would be treated as travelling ‘without ticket’.

Once he filed an affidavit, the burden shifted on the Railways to prove he was not a genuine passenger, which in this case, the railways failed to rebut.

Justice Shinde said, Instructions relied on by the Railways cannot be said to be ‘mandatory’ and, therefore, would not render proper season ticket automatically invalid for non-production of identity card.

 The HC directed the man to appear before the tribunal on June 10.



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