Elaborate steps for safety of passengers: HC to DMRC, police

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New Delhi, Sept 18 (PTI): The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the DMRC and the Delhi Police to inform it about the steps taken for safety and security of passengers travelling on the Delhi Metro and to deal with any emergency situation. The high court also asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), police and CISF to hold within two weeks a meeting to incorporate all essential safety requirements necessary to handle the large volume of passengers of metro. The meeting would be chaired by the managing director of DMRC.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Nazmi Waziri directed the authorities to file a comprehensive affidavit on the efforts to make the DMRC network safe for all passengers. “Our concern is safety and security of passengers who use the DMRC services,” it said. “Counsel for DMRC and Delhi Police have been ordered to elaborate on all steps taken by them to facilitate safety and security of passengers as well as to deal with any emergent situation that may arise,” the bench said. It asked the agencies to file the affidavit in four weeks and said the amicus curiae, appointed to assist the court, was open to make suggestions on the next date of hearing on October 26.

The bench further said that there should be security personnel in the ladies’ coach and the coach adjacent to it so that the women feel secure. Amicus curiae Sachin Puri told the bench there was lack of coordination between CISF and police and at several metro stations and there were police booths which remained unmanned. To this, the court asked the counsel for Delhi Police to give it the details regarding who were manning these booths. Meanwhile, CISF, in an affidavit filed through central government standing counsel Anil Soni, said several steps have been taken by it to ensure safety of passengers, especially women, children and missing or separated ones. “‘Operation Kali’ is being conducted on regular intervals especially for the purpose of de-boarding male passengers from ladies coaches and extending all kind of support for women’s safety and security inside the metro,” it said. The bench was also informed by senior counsel Arun Bhardwaj, appearing for DMRC, that standard operating procedures (SOP) existed for dealing with untoward incidents.

He also said if there is any negligence, action is taken against the officials. The court was hearing a habeas corpus plea initiated by it based on a news report that a 19-year-old woman with speech and hearing impairment had gone missing on April 21 after getting separated from her family and had alighted at the wrong metro station. The woman was found on July 17 wandering in the Rewari district of Haryana by a policeman who took her to a Child Welfare Committee, where she was given shelter before she was reunited with her family. The court had earlier lambasted DMRC for not putting in place systems to ensure safe and secure travel of commuters, especially women and children. On the woman’s case, the court had said when the Adarsh Nagar metro station got the information about the woman being separated from her family at the Jahangirpur metro station, the station controller rushed to the platform and went past her thrice, without noticing her walking up and down the vacant platform. The woman had got off the train tailgating another commuter, which was seen on CCTV footage. But the station controller failed to notice that and also did not call the police, the bench had said.

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