Several families do not carry original documents while travelling on reserved tickets

The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the railways to simplify the mandatory rule of carrying original identity cards while travelling.

It said that people from lower and middle classes and those in remote villages faced difficulty in carrying identity cards while travelling on reserved tickets.

The First Bench comprising Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam passed the interim order on a public interest litigation petition.

The court made it clear that it was not staying the railways’ circular stipulating the condition that rail passengers should carry their identity cards in original during journey from December 1.

In the petition, Coimbatore Consumer Voice, represented by its secretary N. Logu, said as per the recent circular, passengers failing to produce identity cards would be treated as ticketless travellers.

The new condition was unreasonable, the petition said. Several families did not have family cards or voter identification. In the event of loss of original card, it was difficult to get a new one.

Also, many passengers may not have a photo identity card. Minors and socially and economically backward sections were prevented from travelling by train because of this rule, it said.

The petitioner said the railways should permit photocopies of identity cards attested by a notary public or by a gazetted officer.

He sent a representation to the railways on November 26 in this regard, but till date there was no reply.

Directing the railway counsel to get instructions in this regard, the court posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks.

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