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HC slams Railways on women’s safety: Only committees, no action

The Bombay High Court asked the railway authorities to inform what steps they had taken to ensure women’s safety on the Mumbai suburban trains and local stations.


A division bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Ahmed Sayed asked the Central Railway and Western Railway to file affidavits in this regard by January 22.

The judges were hearing a batch of petitions including a public interest litigation filed by Help Mumbai Foundation seeking directions to the authorities to ensure safety of women on roads, trains and railway premises.

Railways lawyer Suresh Kumar said that a committee had been formed to inspect CCTV cameras, toilets, ambulances at the railway stations.

“Why are you forming committees time and again…These are just delay tactics. You form a committee but no steps are taken thereafter,” the judges said.

“You have divisional offices and they can coordinate with the station masters and find out whether the facilities such as ambulances, doctors, guards and CCTVs are available. Is there any need to form a committee for this?” they asked.

The court sought to know whether adequate number of Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) constables are present on the platforms.

The judges asked the railways to also inform how many stations the committee had visited.

In August last year, the court had said that the railways may consider installing CCTVs in the ladies compartments of local trains. The petitioners had raised the issue in the wake of an incident where a 22-year-old woman was molested by an unidentified youth while she was travelling alone in an unguarded ladies compartment.

During the hearing of these PILs, the state government appointed Justice Dharmadhikari committee to examine the issues concerning women’s safety. Some of its recommendations are being implemented.

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