The menace of illegal posters being put up by alleged quacks and 'baba bangalis' inside train compartments is now before the Bombay high court in the form of a public interest litigation (PIL).
Responding to the PIL filed by one Dinanath Tiwari, the railways recently filed an affidavit stating that this year till March they have registered 47 cases against those putting up such posters and collected a fine of Rs58,200.
The affidavit, filed by senior divisional security commissioner Rajendra Rupnawar, states that last year 229 cases were made against the offenders under section 166 of the Indian Railways Act. Of these, 10 people were sent to jail and the total fine collected was Rs2.44 lakh.
The affidavit also states, "The pasting of illegal posters is not encouraged by railways... they deface the compartments. Apart from taking action against the offenders by imposing fine and registering FIR, the posters are removed during the cleaning of the rakes."
Tiwari has alleged that several public toilets and train compartments have these posters of quacks or so-called spiritual healers who boast of curing all kinds of ailments.
The petition states that such advertisements are put up with an intention to cheat people. Moreover, children are also influenced by such advertisements and incidents of rape can occur. Thus, to prevent such unforeseen incidents, the petition prays to ban such illegal posters. It also seeks direction to authorities to check on the degrees obtained by such doctors and on what basis they are making claims of being able to cure all ailments which otherwise seem to be incurable in any other form of medicine.
The PIL has made the Western Railway, Indian Medical Council and Mumbai Police as respondents.