Bombay High Court pulls up railways over poor facilities for the disabled

General managers of CR and WR to receive contempt notices

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday rapped the railway administration for failing to make suburban railway stations disabled-friendly.

It has sought the names of the general managers of the Central Railway ( CR) and Wester n Railway (WR) to whom it will issue contempt notices.

Expressing displeasure over the failure of the railway administration in complying with the earlier court orders, the division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Prakash Naik said, “This is a very sorry state of affairs.”

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL), filed by city-based NGO India Centre for Human Rights and Law, contending that even though legal provisions mandate authorities to provide special facilities for the disabled, no steps were taken by the railway authorities.

Acting on the PIL, the court had earlier directed the railway administration to provide various facilities such as disabledfriendly toilets, stainless steel railings on foot-overbridges, installation of water taps and setting up booking windows at a lower level to make these accessible to wheel-chair bound people.

Counsel for the petitioner body, senior advocate Gayatri Singh, however, said even though toilets are provided, at most of the stations they are locked. Moreover, very few railway stations have set up water taps and booking windows, which are accessible to disabled passengers.

The judges were irked to note that no steps were taken to implement the directions of the court at railway stations on the transharbor line in Navi Mumbai because of a tug of war between the CR and City and industrial and development corporation.

The court has posted the PIL for further hearing next week.

Hindustan Times