HC issues show cause notices to Railways

HC issued notices for not complying with the court orders to provide immediate help to accident victims on suburban routes.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday issued
notices to general managers of Central and Western Railways
asking them why contempt action should not be taken against
them for not complying with the court orders to provide
immediate help to accident victims on suburban routes.

The notices were issued by Justice S J Kathawala on
petitions filed by a disabled activist Samir Zaveri.

Zaveri pleaded that he had learnt through RTI that the
Railways had not complied with earlier orders of the high
court to provide immediate attention to the victims by taking
them to the nearest hospital.

He contended that every year around 3,600 people get
killed and another 7,700 sustain injuries while either
crossing the tracks or falling down from the speeding locals
due to overcrowding in suburban trains.

Many a times, Zaveri said, first aid was not available
at railway stations and there was also shortage of ambulances
to take victims to hospitals as a result of which they died
due to excessive bleeding.

For instance, he said, victims who met with accidents at
Virar station were transferred to government-run Bhagwati
hospital in suburban Borivali, which was about 35 km away.

The high court has already passed an order directing the
railway authorities to shift victims to nearby private
hospitals if government hospitals were not located within five
km radius of the accident site, Zaveri said.

The petition contended that by not attending to the
victims immediately, the railways were violating their
fundamental rights. He said this was also violative of section
57 of the Railways Act, 1989.

Zaveri contended that Western Railway had to some extent
followed the high court order but the Central Railway seemed
to be totally ignorant of the court directives and had not
taken any steps to implement the measures.

He suggested that one of the methods to prevent accidents
relating to the crossing of railway tracks was to undertake
fencing on the boundary of railway premises.

He said the costs incurred by the government or municipal
hospitals in treating the injured would be much more than the
cost of the proposed fencing.

Quoting the figures provided in RTI reply by Western and
Central Railways, the petitioner said 598 and 2259 commuters
were killed in accidents on the two railways respectively
during 2008.

He said that even at Churchgate station, the starting
point on the Western suburban Railway, the authorities do not
have adequate first aid.