Court orders attachment of train for failure to pay compensation

The Third Additional Subordinate Court here passed an order on Thursday to attach the Vaigai Express rake following the failure of the Southern Railway to pay balance compensation amount to a labourer who had become immobile in a train accident reported in 2003, despite an order from the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court fixing the liability on the railways to pay the compensation.

The Third Additional Subordinate Judge K. Vivekananthan passed the order to attach the rake from the locomotive to the brake van.

The victim, Palanivel, was travelling from Chennai to Ariyalur in a general compartment of Vaigai Express when the train rammed a tractor at an unmanned level crossing near Vikravandi in February 2003 killing the tractor driver-cum-owner. Under the impact of the collision, the tractor was dragged for some distance causing a huge jerk in the general compartment that was attached close to the locomotive. Palanivel was thrown out of the compartment due to the excessive jerk leading to fractures on his two legs. He was taken to Villupuram Government Hospital from where he was shifted to JIPMER, Puducherry.

Palanivel, who had become immobile, filed a claims petition in 2004 at the Third Additional Subordinate Court – also known as Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Tiruchi, seeking compensation from the railways. The case kept dragging for several years and full-fledged commencement of the trial took place in 2015. The submission of Palanivel was that the railway authority should pay him the compensation.

The court passed an order in January 2016 that the tractor owner was liable to pay compensation. Unsatisfied with the order, Palanivel preferred an appeal in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court in 2016. The High Court passed an order in November 2017 fixing the liability on the railways to pay the compensation, and issued a direction that it must be paid within six weeks from the date of receipt of the order.

Palanivel, through his counsel R. Senthilkumar, filed an execution petition before the Third Additional Subordinate Court in 2018 seeking to enforce the High Court order. The issue kept dragging again with the railways making part payment of the compensation – totally amounting to about ₹4.8 lakh – along with interest and costs. The case came up before the same court on Thursday when the Judge passed an order to attach the Vaigai Express following failure of the railway administration to pay the balance money to Palanivel.

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