In a plea filed after the June 2022 Odisha train accident, Supreme Court lawyer Vishal Tiwari referred to the lack of safety mechanism to prevent train accidents
The Supreme Court sought attorney-general R Venkataramani’s assistance. (HT PHOTO)
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought information about the measures the government has taken to prevent train accidents in response to a petition about “the failure” of the anti-collision system Kavach in preventing such tragedies, including the one in Odisha in June last year that claimed around 300 lives.
“We direct the petitioner to hand over a copy of the petition to the Attorney General [R Venkataramani]…within two days,” said a bench of justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan.
The bench sought Venkataramani’s assistance and added he shall apprise the court on the next date of hearing four weeks later about the protective measures.
In the plea filed after the June 2022 Odisha train accident, Supreme Court lawyer Vishal Tiwari referred to the lack of safety mechanism to prevent train accidents. The plea questioned the efficacy of the automated Kavach system.
The Chennai-bound Coromandel Express derailed near Odisha’s Balasore and collided with a goods train on the adjacent track. The Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express coming on another track rammed into the derailed coaches and left over 290 people dead and more than 1000 persons injured.
The petition seeks directions to the railways and the government to enforce or further strengthen the protective measures.
The court asked Tiwari whether he examined the financial burden such a direction would entail. Tiwari said that it is for the government to answer to what extent the Kavach system has been implemented as no train should be allowed to run without this system. He called it a question of the right to life of citizens under the Constitution’s Article 21 before the court agreed to seek Venkataramani’s assistance.
Kavach, an indigenous system, seeks to control the speed of trains by automatic application of brakes in case drivers ignore the signal to stop and overspeed. It is designed to bring a train to a halt automatically on detecting another train on the same line within a specified distance, the petition noted.
Tiwari has cited a series of train mishaps since 2010. “With unregulated and negligent actions, the respondent authorities have time to time shown the country that there needs to be a strict judicial intervention on this matter as this concerns public safety and life which stands at the highest pedestal on the functioning of any state machinery.”