Showing posts with label Inaccessible Indian Railways. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inaccessible Indian Railways. Show all posts

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. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Disability Commission directs Railways to install CCTV in Coaches for Disabled

With the rampant misuse of coaches meant for the persons with disabilities by the police personnel and members of public, this decision of the commission should bring in some check on the misuse of the facility. Also the order highlights the  need of awareness and sensitization campaigns amongst police officials and general public.

Here goes the coverage in Times of India:

Nitasha Natu, Sep 20, 2013, 

MUMBAI: The state commission for persons with disabilities has instructed the railways to install CCTVs in coaches reserved for disabled and appoint a special officer to redress their grievances.

The order was passed by the Pune-based commission earlier this month in connection with a complaint filed by Nitin Gaikwad, a graphics designer from Ghatkopar. A graphics designer, Gaikwad had complained of plain-clothes policemen travelling in handicapped coaches with alarming frequency and bullying those who attempted to object.

"I had clicked photographs and videos of rogue cops and presented it before the commission," Gaikwad told TOI.

His counsel, Jayesh Tanna, added, "Once CCTVs are installed, the grabs will provide have great evidentiary value." Both, Gaikwad and Tanna are differently abled and got acquainted with each other on local trains. In April, they entered their complaint against Central Railway, the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) with the state commission. The commission has ordered the railways to create a separate waiting area or seating area for disabled commuters at each railway station. The order adds that old suburban rakes also be fitted with public announcement systems to give information about the next scheduled halt of the train.

"Strict action needs to be taken against cops and illegal travellers in coaches reserved for the disabled and the prosecution statistics should be put up on pamphlets on platforms and inside compartments. Awareness and sensitization campaigns for cops and the public need to be carried out. Personnel handling railway helplines need to be instructed to attend to calls received from disabled commuters on a priority basis," the order stated.

In their response to the commission, the RPF stated that 40 cops had been arrested since 2012 and Rs 13,600 collected in fines for illegal travel in coaches for the disabled. The RPF also said they had intimated the Mumbai police chief about the menace and that all calls received on the railway helpline (1275) are recorded for monitoring.

"There's a great risk to life and safety of disabled commuters while boarding/alighting at Kalyan, Dombivali, Thane and Ghatkopar stations. The coaches are packed beyond capacity with unauthorized travellers. We are often shoved and pushed around, verbally abused and manhandled. An acquaintance of mine had an accident as a result, adding to his disability. The commission's order should bring some relief," Gaikwad said.

Prosecution against illegal travel in coaches for disabled (Central Railway)

Year 2012 (Jan to Dec)

Arrested: 11743
Fines: Rs 20.31 lakh
Jailed: 29

Year 2013 (Jan to April)

Arrested: 4319
Fines: Rs 8.03 lakh
Jailed: 16

Read from Source..... Times of India


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mumbai HC panel to evaluate the prototype of Accessible Railway Station

Dear Colleagues,

This is further to my earlier post on 29th Jan 2012 titled Bombay High Court directs Railways to be Sensitive to Disabled.

There is some development in the case pending in the Mumbai High Court against the Indian Railways, however, this doesn't seems encouraging as an important member of the High Court appointed panel Mr. Sudhir Badami feels, "The railways should have involved us right at the stage of drawings. I have visited these facilities but they are not up to the mark," 

The Railways have put up a prototype of disabled-friendly low-height booking counters, a separate toilet and drinking water dispensing facility has been set up at Dadar station. 

"If the panel appointed by the high court gives its approval, Central Railway will start constructing similar facilities at other stations," said a senior Railways official. Western Railway has created a such facilities at Bandra Terminus. Currently, there are only six disabled-friendly toilets at 109 local stations in Mumbai. 

This is a result of a petition  filed by the India Centre for Human Rights and Law in the Bombay HC seeking directives to the railways to provide "accessible facilities at stations and on suburban trains"  which is pending adjudication in the Mumbai High Court. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bombay Hight Courts directs Railways to be sensitive to disabled

Dear Friends,

Our disability law is almost 16 years old now. What it mandated to ensure accessibility for the disabled in public spaces including modes of transport such as road, Rail and airways, these modes continues to ignore the rights of the disabled people. There is some improvement in the road transport in few pockets such as a Metro Rail in Delhi or Low Floor buses with corresponding road infrastructure in BRT  dedicated corridors. However, largely, the railways has been most insensitive to the needs of the disabled. It impacts the persons with disabilities all the more aggressively since rail happens to be the most economic option for long distance travel in India. Knowing well their obligation under the disability law, the railways has taken resolutions/ passed memorandums and instructions. However, on ground there is hardly any change and the worst is the maintenance track record. One can find most unhygienic toilets on the Indian Railways - in both coaches and at platforms. This is just not managed professionally.  Here is some advice from the Mumbai High Court and I can tell you, there are several of such public interest litigation in various other High Courts in India with Railways only busy defending these cases in the Courts at the Exchequer expenses. Can  it deploy its resources to promote accessibility and good hygiene at Railway properties rather than paying hefty professional fee to Standing Counsels to defend the petitions against it? I am sure the former would be easier, cost effective and in the larger interest.

News coverage




Asking the Railways to be sensitive towards the needs of the differently-abled, the Bombay high court on Monday asked the body to address two primary issues immediately - disabled-friendly toilets and ticket windows of a lower level to make it accessible for a wheelchair-bound person.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by India Centre for Human Rights, an NGO, in 2007, seeking easy access for differently-abled persons to the railway platforms in the city.

A division bench of chief justices Mohit Shah and Roshan Dalvi has asked the court-appointed committee to devise a plan for implementing the 1998 government resolution which recommends establishing of disabled-friendly toilets and lower level ticket window at all city stations.
In October 2011, the HC had appointed a committee - one from the petitioner NGO, an officer from the accounts department, one engineer and three officers each from the Western and Central Railways - to come up with solutions for problems faced by the differently-abled.
“Without telling you (Railways), your officers should address the issues. You know your own recommendation since 1998. Why should someone else point it out to you?” asked chief justice.
The 1998 GR was pointed out by Kranti LC, advocate for the NGO, saying that the Railways have not been taking the initiative for making the platforms disabled-friendly.
Kranti pointed out that some of their NGO’s members had taken a survey of 104 stations. “Only 3% of toilets are accessible to the disabled,” he said. He further pointed out that in their July 2011 affidavit, they had suggested that slopes for access to platforms were too steep at several stations and this had not been rectified.
Beni Chatterji and Suresh Kumar - counsels for the Western railways - said that the NGO should point out the deficiencies to them and they would then take necessary actions. To this, chief justice frowned and said, “Why should anyone point out deficiencies? That’s why we have constituted the committee. What have you been doing?”
Chatterji assured the court that this time they would definitely look into their grievances. The chief justice suggested that Chatterji remain present in the next committee meeting.
Directing the railways to give priorities to the issues of toilets and lower ticket windows, the court has asked the railways to submit an Action Taken Report on the next date of hearing on March 1. 

Source: DNA  India