The Indian Railways seems to be caught in two minds over implementing the recommendation of the Allahabad High Court to have all season pass-holders to sign an undertaking that their passes would be cancelled if they commit any offence under the Indian Penal Code or the Railway Act.
While railway zones like Western Railway in Mumbai as well as the Andhra Pradesh-centred South Central Railway have finalised the format of the undertaking – copy of which is available with DNA – the bureaucracy is still to decide to go about it.
The Central Railway, of course, remains a laggard in more ways than one with its booking counters yet to begin taking down addresses – another recommendation of the Allahabad HC – of people coming to buy or renew their season passes.
There was no clear answer that DNA got on a timeline for the implementation of the 'good behaviour' undertaking when DNA spoke to top railway officials at the Railway Board and also at WR, SCR and CR. DP Pande, Member (Traffic) said that he would have to study the recommendations before offering any comment on the implementation of the good behaviour undertaking.
A city-based railway official said, "There are several factors involved. Whether we store the undertaking electronically or physically for the seven years a season pass identity card is valid is one decision that needs to be taken. The other thing is basics like how does one ensure that a person who violates the undertaking has his pass cancelled. Remember we have more than 45 lakh passes in the city's suburban system."
As reported first by DNA in its April 14 edition, the Allahabad HC had recommended to the railway board to have a format for applying for a season ticket which included a declaration that in the event of of the pass-holder's involvement in any offence under the Indian Penal Code or the Railways Act, his pass be cancelled. The recommendation stated that 'people enjoying concession under the Railway Rules are not supposed to violate the Railways Act'.
The 'good behaviour' undertaking is over and above the recommendation that the railways take down the addresses of all pass-holders and make a giant database to be shared with security agencies like the railway police and the Railway Protection Force to nab train hooligans and thereby increase passenger safety on the railways.
The undertaking finalised by the railways:
I, Shri/Smt/Master/Ms --------- residing at ---------- hereby declare that I will follow the season ticket rules and will not indulge in any anti-social/unlawful activities or commit any offence under the Indian Penal Code or Railway Act while availing the season ticket and if found involved in such an offence, my season ticket is liable to be cancelled and will not be issued again.
Signature of applicant