A panel on women’s safety, headed by Lt Governor Anil Baijal, has asked the Delhi Law Department to find ways to enable halting of public buses at places other than designated stops — currently barred by a court ruling — if a woman desires so after 9 pm.
The proposed measure, first floated during a meeting of the panel in August last year, has not been implemented so far due to a ruling of the Supreme Court, which dates back to 1997, a senior official who was present in the meeting said.
The Transport Department was supposed to sensitise bus drivers and conductors to implement the measure, but it could not be done as that would amount to violating the court order, the official said.
The issue came up during the ninth meeting of the panel at the Lt Governor’s Secretariat on June 12, attended by Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik and other top officials.
The Transport Department referred to the SC judgment while expressing its inability to implement the measure.“The point of the proposed measure is quite simple — it’s essentially about making commuting safer for women. In many cases, women stay in places far from designated bus shelters. Also, for a woman, the stretch between her house and a bus shelter may not be well lit. It will be a policy intervention geared at making her commute safer,” an official said.
Issues of inadequate last-mile connectivity and dark spots in the national capital have come up time and again over the years. Delhi Police informed the L-G in the meeting that PCR vans generate daily reports on streetlights requiring repairs, which are shared with civic agencies.
“The measure would have been implemented by now. But the apex court judgement says buses can halt only at designated shelters. That judgment was in context of traffic jams. The Transport Department has now sought the opinion of the Law Department. The Law Department can move the SC seeking some relaxation by contextualising the proposal in light of the situation… buses won’t deviate from their routes,” said the official.
The LG-led panel is tasked with implementing the report of a study group comprising experts such as IHBAS Director Nimesh Desai, Professor Pamela Singla, the Special CP (crime against women cell) and others.