Safety of women on trains in city got a boost with the Union government finally agreeing to bear 50 per cent of the expenses for hiring and deploying additional 100 Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel.
The Railway Board has filed an affidavit before the Bombay High Court, stating that it has sanctioned a proposal for the additional security staff across suburban railway stations and on local trains to ensure safety of women commuters.
A division bench justices Abhay Oka and AS Chandurkar on Wednesday asked the concerned authorities to file an affidavit within two weeks explaining the time frame for the entire process – from recruiting to appointment.
The Railways Board also informed the HC that it was willing to bear 50 per cent of the cost incurred for the additional deployment. The Maharashtra government will bear the remaining expenses.
The HC was hearing a suo moto (on its own) public interest litigation based on newspaper reports and a PIL filed by NGO Help Mumbai Foundation regarding women's safety in the city and while travelling on local trains.
Initially, there was a tussle between the Railway Board and the state over who should bear the cost of deploying the additional manpower.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has not decided on the course of action on the recommendations made so far by the Justice Dharmadhikari committee to curb crimes against women in state.
The state had formed a committee, headed by Justice (retired) Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari, in 2010 and had asked it to suggest measures to curb crimes against women. The committee, which comprised women politicians, activists and bureaucrats, submitted various reports and recommendations after studying laws related to crimes against women in the state and the country.
The HC has asked the government to inform in two weeks what it proposes to do about the recommendations in Dharmadhikari's report.