It takes, on an average, more than 600 days for a victim of railway accident to get his/her compensation because of the lengthy process involved in it.
The Ministry of Railway figures say that it took the 19 benches of Railway Claims Tribunal an average of 605 days to dispose of 762 cases in the last four years (from 2012-13 to 2015-16), while 142 claims are still pending.
Minister of State for Railways, Manoj Sinha said this while replying to a query recently in the Lok Sabha.
Compensation is governed by the Railways Accident and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Rules. As per rules, ex-gratia payment is given for immediate need; compensation is given only after the claim is approved by the Raliway Claims Tribunal, set up across the country.
Out of the 142 pending cases 84 are related to death while the remaining are cases of injury. As per government rules, an ex-gratia payment is given by the Railways after an accident—Rs 15,000 for death, Rs 5,000 for grievous injury and Rs 500 for simple injury. However, for claims, the claimant has to file a claim before the Tribunal. The amount of compensation is paid by the Railways after the claim filed by the claimant is approved. The amount of compensation in case of death is Rs 4 lakh. Admitting that the process of giving compensation is a lengthy one, Sinha said there are various stages involved. On whether any time frame has been fixed for disposal of the pending cases, Sinha said: “It is not possible to indicate any time frame for disposal of pending claims which is a judicial process. However, if a case is completed in all respects, it is disposed of expeditiously. Circuit benches are also arranged by the Tribunal chairman in the benches where posts of members are vacant and pendency of claims cases is high, by deputing members of other benches,” the minister added.
According to a Railway Ministry official, the ministry is also examining a proposal, submitted by an MP, for the creation of a Rail Victim Compensation Fund to provide adequate compensation to victims of rail accidents by levying an additional charge on passenger fare.