Imagine a railway court functioning in a moving train! In an initiative to speed up disposal of criminal and petty cases which are pending at the Railway Magistrate Court in Kollam, the Thiruvananthapuram division of railways will start ‘Court on Wheels’ in the coming months.
The coach of the ‘court’ will be attached to a train plying in the Thiruvananthapuram division. Any case, ranging from ticketless travel, irregularities in train travel, abuse of woman travellers and thefts caught by the RPF, will be brought before the railway magistrate who will travel in the coach. The cases will be settled immediately. T
he court will function akin to any other court with the magistrate in chair. However, if the passenger demands that he would like to appoint a lawyer to contend the case, it will then be referred to the Railways’ Kollam Second Class Magistrate. Currently, all cases under the Thiruvananthapuram division are settled in Kollam. Occasional sittings by the railway magistrate are held at major stations once or twice in a month.
“However, the ‘Court on Wheels’ will function almost everyday and will be attached to different trains throughout the month. If on one day the coach is attached to the Guruvayur-Ernakulam- Trivandrum Intercity Express, it will be linked to Venad Express the other day. Crimes related to that particular train will be settled in the train itself,” said Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Security Commissioner R K Tripathi. The idea is to bring down the rate of crimes taking place within trains. “The number of ticket-less travel has increased over the months. People who are not willing to pay the fine can settle their case with the railway magistrate. However, if the passenger realises that a magistrate is onboard, he would think twice about travelling without a ticket,” the official said.
More Railway Protection Force and Government Railway police will be deputed onboard the train. They will be given the responsibility of bringing the offenders to the magistrate. RPF officials said even though the initiative is on their agenda, they were yet to make a full-fledged plan. A special coach for the purpose has to be set up and a date fixed for the launch. Recently, the Palakkad division had started the mobile railway court, a first in the state. It settled over 60 cases last week, collecting fine of up to Rs 20,000.