Saturday, August 8, 2015

Law enacted in 1989 for doing away with unmanned level crossings has not been implemented in the last 26 years which tantamount to dereliction of duties… observes the Social Justice Bench of Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on Friday slammed railways for the unmanned railway crossings which take a heavy toll of human lives and asked the government why it was introducing new trains without first ensuring the safety of the people.

A social justice bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and U U Lalit said the law enacted in 1989 for doing away with unmanned level crossings has not been implemented by the railways in the last 26 years. It asked the railways to give a roadmap for manning such crossings.

“Why do you bring more trains when you cannot protect the lives of people? Human life cannot be treated so cheaply. Safety is very important and you must take it seriously,” the bench said.

There are more than 11,000 unmanned crossings, out of which 203 have been marked as accident-prone. The unmanned crossings are responsible for the maximum number of train accidents at around 40 per cent.

The counsel for railways told the bench that it would take time to man all such crossings and it would be done in a phased manner. He, however, did not give a time-frame for completing the task.

“Why don’t you tell us when will you complete the task? There must be some road map for at least 203 accident prone crossings. We are not sitting here for fun. You must tell us what are you doing in this regard,” the bench said.

The advocate then sought time to consult the railway authorities.


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