Not operating lifts and escalators in Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) railway stations citing misuse by miscreants was not the answer as the public would be put to inconvenience and instead the miscreants should be prosecuted for the offences, the Madras High Court has observed.
While hearing a plea by petitioner, R. Sreedhar, counsel appearing for the Railways, stated that all the lifts except for two were working since they have been switched off due to public nuisance and miscreant activities.
“While we do appreciate the concern of the respondents arising from such destructive activities, the answer is not to deprive the general public of the benefit, but to ensure that such people should be brought to book. We are sure that a more vigilant supervision by the Railway Police Force would catch hold of these miscreants, they be taken into custody and prosecuted for committing various offences”, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice R. Mahadevan said, while disposing of the plea.
The Bench also perused the counter-affidavit filed by the Railways in 2015 and newspaper reports with photographs showing inoperative escalators and lifts and the consequent inconvenience being caused especially to older persons.
As for the submission of counsel for Railways that except six, all escalators were working, three escalators were proposed to be replaced and necessary approvals were being obtained and it might take up to nine months to float the tenders and obtain these escalators, the Bench said: “Considering the inconvenience to the public, this issue should be taken up on a war-footing and the time period endeavoured to be reduced.
Calls for periodic checks
“We also do believe that there should be periodic check where escalators are operating to prevent miscreants from affecting its functioning and the Railway Police Force is duty bound to take a strict view of this matter so that a few set of miscreants are not able to cause inconvenience to the public at large.”
The petitioner had sought for direction to Secretary of the Ministry of Railways and the General Manager of the Southern Railways to operate all lifts and escalators in all MRTS railway stations from Chennai Beach to Velachery.
‘There should be periodic check where escalators are operating to prevent miscreants from affecting its functioning’