Taking a serious view of the Railway’s stand on establishment of medical centres being either not necessary or feasible at railway stations, the Bombay High Court, on Monday, directed the Chairman of the Railway Board to provide the name and designation of officers who took the decision not to implement HC’s previous orders. The HC has warned the railways of contempt against these officers of the central and western railways if its orders are not complied with.
The Chairman of the Railway board has further been asked to inform the court which officer is empowered to take such policy decisions. “The official concerned should file an affidavit setting an outer limit on setting up emergency medical centers spelling out when this order shall be implemented The affidavit has to be filed in the court by November 29,’’ said Justices A S Oka and A S Gadkari.
The court observed that considering the lack of insensitivity shown by railways, the Additional Solicitor General should appear in this petition on behalf of the Centre on December 12. It has also directed that a team be formed which will visit some stations to see if the ambulances parked have required manpower and facilities.
“We direct the registrar to appoint officials not less than the post of assistant registrar of this court. They will be provided with a list of railway stations where ambulances have been made available. These officers shall visit such stations on four occasions without serving notice to authorities in rush hours, at night and during public holidays,” the court observed.
On the previous hearing, the case was adjourned owing to non-compliance of court orders and Railways was granted time to file a compliance report. “When specific questions were asked on whether railways desired to implement the orders, the officers in court said they were unable to give negative or positive answer,’’ the court pointed out.
The Chief Medical Superintendent (CMS) of both central and western railways tendered a written submission in court. “Surprisingly, the CMS does not make reference to compliance of setting up emergency medical centres. It is stated in the 19 March, 2013 order that the state government has provided ambulances at 38 stations and the promised facilities are provided in the ambulances. The same officer stated that setting up of these centers in not required or feasible,” the court further observed.
The Railways, on Monday, said that adequate facilities will be provided at all stations through first-aid boxes. “So interim-life saving measures is first-aid boxes?” the court asked. The petitioner’s lawyer said a committee was formed in 2012, as per orders of the court, and their recommendations included setting up medical centres.
“The ambulances cannot take the place of medical centres. If ambulance is away there won’t be any facility available. The superintendent’s submission shows contempt and shows scant respect of orders of court and human lives,” the HC said.