Provide facilities for passengers with disabilities, Bombay HC tells Railways
Asia-Pacific, January 30 2017
MUMBAI, INDIA: The Bombay High court on Wednesday directed the railways to provide facilities to passengers with disabilities travelling in local trains and CCTV cameras inside reserved compartments, special seating arrangements in the platform for passengers with disabilities and a helpline facility for them. It also directed the Director General of the Police to issue a circular to police stations in the state to take disciplinary action against police personnel who travel illegally in coaches meant for people with disabilities.
A division bench headed by Justice A S Oka while hearing a petition filed by activist Nitin Gaikwad said, “The railways must appoint special officers to look into grievances of passengers with disabilities and also to ensure there is no unauthorised entry and travel by general public or police personnel in these reserved compartments. Despite several complaints made about this unauthorised travel, no action has been taken and neither measures to stop this. It is very shocking that the police themselves are violating the law.” Gaikwad who is disabled himself had filed a petition stating unauthorised commute by railway and police officials in the reserved compartments and about various facilities and measures promised to the disabled in platforms and trains which have not been implemented yet, despite orders passed by the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) which had directed the railways to implement these measures.
The court, while taking a note of the order by the CPD said, “Apart from CCTVs and seating arrangements for the disabled, a helpline should be activated so that passengers can immediately whatsapp or SMS about unauthorised commute and the railways and the police should appropriately respond and take action immediately.” The court also said that a special drive with extra police personnel should be carried out at various railway stations to create awareness on reserved coaches to ensure nobody travels illegally in coaches meant for people with disabilities.
The court has directed the railways, the DGP and the home department to submit a compliance report affidavit regarding the steps taken, on May 2.