Compensate Mumbai commuters: HC

Taking a serious view of the motormen's strike that paralysed the city's suburban rail network for nearly two days, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday said the Railways should compensate commuters hit hard by the stir.

The strike on May 3-4 by drivers of the suburban trains, used by seven million commuters daily, affected normal life as only around 20 per cent of services could be operated till last evening when the agitation was finally called off.

Sensing that the stir was paralysing normal life hitting hard office goers and students, the Centre moved the Court yesterday morning and sought its intervention for ending the stir by the motormen demanding a wage hike.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice S C Dharmadhikari today observed that compensation should be paid to hapless commuters.

"Travellers are the victims. Why they should not be compensated? Railways can recover this money later from the employees," the High Court said.

Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata said the Railways would consider the suggestion.

The court said if political parties could be fined for organising `bandh' and disrupting civic life, the same logic should apply in the present case too.

When Khambata told the court that the strike was deferred till June 15, the court adjourned the hearing till June 16.

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