Supreme Court notice to govt on unmanned railway crossings
The Supreme Court has described as ‘serious’ the fact that 40 per cent of railway-level crossings across the country are unmanned and account for 73 per cent of fatalities every year, and issued notice to the Centre in response to a PIL demanding the deployment of guards or gates at all 30,348 crossings.
“Despite so many casualties, the Railways have not taken any action to ensure safety and security of the public. These unmanned crossings are not only dangerous for those crossing railway tracks but also for passengers in case the train derails,” said the PIL filed by Ajay Gautam, a priest. We would like to examine the whole issue as it involves the safety of the public and train passengers. We are appointing senior lawyer Dinesh Dwivedi to assist us in the matter as an amicus curiae,” said the court, while issuing notice to the Railways on Friday.
“The issue raised in the PIL is serious. We are issuing notice to the Centre and Railways. We would like to examine the whole issue as it involves the safety of Indian citizens and train passengers. Railways is a Government entity and has a socio-obligatory role in giving basic protection to the citizens and society and is answerable. When the existing age-old railway system itself is not able to take care of accidents due to unmanned level crossings, how can the Government think of running bullet and high-speed trains in a country like India where more than 30,348 level crossings are unmanned? If level crossings on the prevailing ground-based rail-track system in the country do not give protection to general public, then Government should go and examine how Japan and China have built elevated high-speed rail-track systems in those countries and reduced casualties. We are appointing senior lawyer Dinesh Dwivedi to assist us in the matter as an amicus curiae,” said the court while issuing notice to the Railways.
The PIL said 11,563 of 30,348 crossings – or roughly 40 per cent – were unmanned. Quoting the Railways’ figures, Gautam contended that mishaps at crossings caused the highest number of casualties among railway accidents. He said they accounted for 60 per cent of the accidents and 73 per cent of fatalities. The PIL said accidents at unmanned crossings claimed 350 to 400 lives every year.
Consumer court orders BSNL to compensate consumer
The local consumer court in Nashik has ordered Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to compensate a consumer for lack of proper coverage to his cellphone services, mental harassment and the expenses incurred for registering a case with the court. “The series of complaints clearly point out that BSNL was guilty of deficiency in services and hence the consumer should be given Rs 5,000 as part of compensation, Rs 5,000 as part of mental harassment and Rs 3,000 incurred for registering compliant with the court,” the court said in its order.
Sandeepkumar Brahmecha, in his complaint registered with the consumer court in October 2013, had claimed that he had taken BSNL’s mobile service and was using the phone for verbal communication as well as data transfer.
“There were a number of occasions when calls made were either cancelled or went on hold, or could not be completed and all such activities resulting not only in mental harassment but also loss in business,” the complainant said. He claimed that he had lost business to the tune of Rs 1.71 lakh and sought compensation. BSNL contended that the bills issued and the consumer paying it without any issues meant that the connection was clear. “The consumer is not a defaulter of the company and never has he raised issue about the loss of connection. Since there was no loss of connection, the case of loss in business does not arise. Also that the consumer enjoyed the connection and the service all the time even till date and if there was any issue about loss of connectivity he would have stopped the connection long back,” BSNL claimed. The court, however, categorically pointed out that the complainant had never said anything about the total loss of connectivity but about the lack of quality service that would allow him to work.