Judiciary to act against people using Coaches reserved for Disabled

MUMBAI: Passengers with disability travelling in reserved compartments, will soon be able to lodge complaints to the railways about unauthorised persons occupying their berths by sending an SMS or a Whatsapp message and railway officials will have to revert about the action taken against the offenders through the same medium.

A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai in their detailed order directing the Central Railways to implement several recommendations given by State Disability Commissioner, in 2013, ordered the railways to set up the grievance redressal mechanism by April 30.

Railways has also been told to maintain a separate register for such complaints and indicate the action taken on the same by submitting a compliance report before the court in May.

The bench disposed of a petition filed by Ghatkopar resident Nitin Gaikwad, by asking the Director General of Police, to issue a warning to all policemen to not travel in the reserved compartment. This was after the Central Railway told the court that last year around 53 police personnel were booked for travelling in the reserved compartment. To which the bench had said, “This is shocking that policemen who are under obligation to uphold the law are violating it.” It had also asked the authorities to take disciplinary action against those Government Railway Police (GRP) officials who were booked by the railway police force.

Gaikwad, who suffers from a disability, travels on both Central and Western Railways to reach his workplace in Mahim, alleged that he regularly faces this problem while boarding the coach. Despite repeated complaints to the authorities, the railways had failed to take any action.

The Central Railway will also have to install CCTV cameras inside the reserved compartments within eight months.

To create awareness among the commuters about the reserved compartment, Central Railway has been told to hold a special drive, every month at different railway stations. The bench also allowed Gaikwad to make a representation to the Western Railway, with the same pleading and hoped it would act promptly.

The court has asked the Central Railway to put up posters at entrance point of stations and other prominent places on the platforms about the reserved compartments. The court has asked the authority to provide resting areas and benches on the platforms in front of the reserved compartment.