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The Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987

The Railway Claims Tribunal Act has been incorporated on 23rd December, 1987. This Act has been provided for the organization of Railway Claim Tribunals for investigation and for the determination of Claims against railway administration for any sort of destruction or deterioration of animals or commodities entrusted to it or for any administration disorders such as refund of fares, freight and even for providing Compensation for injury or death of its passengers due to railways accident occurred, etc.

In order to perceive the object of this Act, The Central Government with the Notifications in the Official Gazette shall organize a Claim Tribunal for Railways that is to be named as Railway Claims Tribunal for exercising the Jurisdictional powers as provided by this Act. The Railway Claims Tribunal shall consist of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and such judicial members and Technical members. They perform their functions as prescribed by this Act. This Tribunal shall perform as a Bench. Such Benches consists of judicial members and a Technical member to resolve the disputes. These members shall not only perform as a Bench but also do certain other functions that are prescribed under this Act. The competent authority shall decide on general Order or by Special Order constitute a Bench inorder to resolve such cases that are to be disposed off only by the Bench.

The Chairman, Vice-Chairman and such other members shall be qualified as a High Court Judge or holding atleast two years as a Vice-Chairman in some other places, etc. Other than these categories, they shall not be qualified as a member of this Tribunal unless this Act has a provision to appoint such other person to be a member of this Railway Claims Tribunal. The Language used in the Tribunal is English or Hindi and in the case of State Tribunals, Regional or English.

The Vice-Chairman shall perform as a Chairman upon Vacancies or death of Chairman or if the Chairman is disable to perform his functions with the notifications in the Official Gazette by the Central Government. Their terms of Office shall be for five years and the retirement age of a Chairman is sixty five and for Vice-Chairman in sixty two. These Chairmen or Vice-Chairman and the Central Government have enormous powers and duties in order to satisfy the intentions of this Act. Especially the Chairman has the power to delegate the financial and administrative powers to Vice-Chairman or such other Officer with the condition that they must Act under the direction, control and supervision of the Chairman.

In case of Resignation, the Chairman or Vice-Chairman shall with a written notice address to the President. If the President feels to  sustain them from resignation for another three months or till the day of appointment of such person to replace them, shall Order accordingly and they are bound to follow the Order of the President. In case of any misbehavior or any other illegal activities found to be done by the person seeking resignation, shall not be removed unless proper investigations and disposition of the matter. The Central Government shall make any number of rules and regulations with regard to investigations of such illegal activities of the members.

The Claim Tribunal shall perform all the required functions as prescribed by his Act as that of a Civil Court or Claim Commissioner. They also perform as a railway administration in case of any Compensation for destruction or deterioration of animals or commodities that are entrusted to it or for any other compensation, refund or freight payable for fair work performance or even in case of death or injury due to railway accidents inorder to fulfill the purpose of this Act. The Central Government has the power to alter the functions of the Benches of the Railway Claims Tribunal. Nobody shall entertain any proceedings that are entitled to exercise by the Jurisdictional powers by the Members under this Act.

In case of initiation of the Proceedings for seeking relief in the Railway Claims Tribunal, an application with proper evidence and documents with fees shall be submitted. After receiving the proper forms and documents, service or execution of process as specified under this Act. This Act contains provision for limitations in filing the application for different disputes based on its effect and other circumstances as prescribed by this Act. The parties shall either present their case by themselves or take an assistance of a legal practitioner of his choice before this Tribunal. The railway administration shall authorize one or more legal practitioner for any case depending upon the circumstances of the case. The Chairman has the power to transfer the case at any stage to one bench to another. The award of this Railway Claims Tribunal is as that of Civil Court Order.

Any aggrieved party by the award of the Tribunal shall go for an Appeal unless the award had been made with the consent of the Parties. These Appeals should be made within ninety days from the date of award by this Tribunal.

This Act is one of the great intentions of the Central Government. As this saves lots of time and provide timely relief to the public instead of long procedure consuming lots of time. This is a great user friendly Act providing lots of favoured provisions in favour of the Public. But this Act was not a final destiny as when demands new amendments or rejections of provisions made and even a new Act shall be formed for better serving to the public.

by C.Srivenkatesh Prabhu.