Thursday, January 26, 2017

Bombay HC passes directions to Railways on facilities for disabled; seeks compliance report by 02 May 2017

Dear colleagues,

The Bombay High Court while hearing Writ Petition (Civil) 1684 of 2016 titled Nitin Arjun Gaikwad  Vs. The Union Of India And Ors, on Wednesday, the 25th January 2017, has passed directions to the Railways to :
  • provide facilities to disabled passengers travelling in local trains 
  • CCTV cameras inside reserved compartments
  • special seating arrangements in the platform for the disabled
  • and a a helpline facility for disabled passengers.
The division bench of Shri Justice A S Oka  and Smt. Justice Anuja Prabhudessai 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 the disabled.

“The railways must appoint special officers to look into grievances of disabled passengers 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." the Court observed.

The petitioner, Mr. Nitin Arjun Gaikwad who himself is a person with disability 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 State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities appointed under the Disability Act of 1995 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 the disabled.

The court has directed the railways, the Director General of Police (DGP) and the State Home Department of Maharashtra to submit a Compliance report affidavit regarding the steps taken, on May 2, 2017.

The matter was deferred on 18th Jan 2017 for 25th Jan 2017 for directions at the orders of the Court. 

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