Kerala

Like resting your feet on seat while travelling in train? Get ready to pay fine for vandalism

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Offenders who deface, destroy Railway property to be prosecuted

Rail passengers resting their feet on seats in front aren’t a rare sight. But such things could land them in trouble from now as a youngster on the Kozhikode-Thiruvananthapuram Jan Shatabdi Express learned the hard way last week.

He was detained by a special squad of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) when the train reached the Ernakulam Junction on November 28 after a social media post of him sitting with his foot over the adjoining seat went viral. It was hardly a fortnight after the vandalisation of the state-of-the-art Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches of Venad Express just days after they were introduced. The LHB coaches, developed for Indian Railways by the German firm, were found with their comfy leather seats torn and the reclining handle broken and uprooted.

“Since then, we have deployed a special squad that keeps round-the-clock tabs on important trains looking out for any potential vandalism. The youngster we detained was perhaps the first catch of the squad”, said T.S. Gopakumar, Assistant Commissioner, RPF, Ernakulam.

In an attempt to send across the stern message that such actions with scant regard for Railway properties will not be condoned any longer, the RPF registered a case against him invoking Sections 145 (b) (committing any nuisance or act of indecency or using abusive or obscene language) and 145 (c) (wilfully or without excuse interfering with any amenity provided by the Railway administration so as to affect the comfortable travel of any passenger) of the Indian Railway Act and let him off on bail only hours later in the night.

The section entails a fine of ₹100 for the first offence and imprisonment of one month and a fine of ₹250 in the case of conviction for the subsequent offence. “We have decided to put our foot down and prosecute the offenders to drive home the message that Railway assets are not personal properties and those treating them that way would be in for a tough time”, said Mr. Gopakumar.

The RPF also plans to invoke Section 166 (obliterating or altering any letters or figures upon any such board or document or upon any rolling stock) of the Indian Railway Act more frequently to keep in check perverted minds who find joy in defacing public notices put up in trains and Railway stations. It entails imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month, or fine which may extend to ₹500, or both.

“Graver damage to railway assets may even attract serious provisions of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act”, Mr. Gopakumar said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 1:38:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/rpf-puts-its-foot-down-on-vandalism-on-trains/article30173691.ece

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