SC quizzes Railways over Quality of Service

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Railways to explain why the world’s third largest rail network was deficient in terms of providing quality services and sought to know the steps taken so far to improve its functioning.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said the Railways fared much better during the British rule and that the government must get its act together to give better experience to its passengers.

Though the counsel claimed that cleanliness has improved to a large extent in trains and various measures have been carried out to make travel comfortable, the bench asked, “Have you ever travelled in trains? Do you know what is the state of affairs in trains? And we are not even talking about comfort and luxuries. We are talking about basic facilities.”

Hearing a PIL filed by Abhay Singh, the court said it was imperative that some effective steps were taken to ensure basic facilities and safety to the commuters so that trains remain a preferred mode of travel for millions in this country.

The petitioner had alleged use of sub-standard materials for furnishing interiors of coaches has caused asphyxiation deaths due to inhalation of toxic gases by passengers during fire accidents.

The court gave the counsel four weeks to bring on record documents, pertaining to use of materials for furnishing interiors of coaches in trains in order to ascertain if they meet the prescribed safety standards to stand fire accidents.