SC seeks rail safety proof

SC seeks rail safety proof

By: || Updated: 19 Nov 2014 03:11 AM
New Delhi: The Supreme Court asked the Centre to place before it lab reports to prove that materials used in railway coaches do not pose fire hazards to lakhs of commuters.




The government has been given two weeks to submit the reports.


A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justices Madan B. Lokur and A.K. Sikri issued the direction to additional solicitor-general Neeraj Kishan Kaul.


Kaul told the court that the railways had been meeting the ISO standards vis-à-vis the materials used for “utmost passenger safety”.


The lawyer claimed that 50 per cent of the fire mishaps that occurred in trains were the result of negligence by passengers who carried combustible materials.


However, the bench was not impressed with the arguments and directed the Centre to place the lab reports to prove the reliability of the materials used in coaches.


The apex court passed the directive while dealing with a PIL file by Abhay Singh, who had sought a ban on all substandard materials used in the railway coaches across the country in view of increasing incidents of fire in trains.


The PIL cited recent instances of deaths in railway coaches because of fire.


The petitioner alleged that such mishaps were happening on account of substandard materials used by contractors and vendors who supply cushions, cushion covers, curtains, flooring material and wooden screens.


It was alleged that some of the contractors and vendors were getting the contracts regularly in connivance with railway officials.


Besides seeking compensation for the loss of lives in such mishaps, the petitioner also urged the apex court to recover the money from the contractors for compensating the victims and their families.


The petition cited the death of 65 passengers in sleeper coaches on the Bandra-Dehraun Express on January 9 this year, and a tragedy on December 29, 2013, on the Banglore-Nanded Express in which 26 people were charred to death.

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