The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to consider manning the exit gates of all its stations, after incidents of people going missing from metro stations were brought to the court’s attention.
A bench comprising Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice AK Pathak said manning the automatic fare collection (AFC) exit gates were also necessary for the security of the Metro system.
It also asked the DMRC and the Metro Police to file affidavits containing data of persons gone missing while taking rides on Metro trains during the last three years.
“The Delhi Metro should consider, in the wake of such incidents (of persons going missing from metro stations), the desirability of manning the AFC gates at all metro stations so that children, disabled or vulnerable persons and those without tickets are checked while exiting,” the bench said.
The direction was issued in a case initiated by the court itself after it came across a news report that a speech-and-hearing impaired 19-year-old woman had gone missing after getting separated from her family and exited at the wrong station.
On April 21, the woman was travelling with her family and could not get down with them at the Jahangirpur Metro Station. As per the CCTV camera footage at the next metro station at Adarsh Nagar, the woman had got down and exited the station but has been missing since then.
Since the woman is yet to be traced, the bench transferred the investigation to the anti-human trafficking unit of the Delhi Police.
Senior standing counsel for Delhi government Rahul Mehra, in his status report, said that all efforts, including the use of social media, made by them till date have failed to trace the woman.
The court had, on the last date, said that social media should be used in all missing persons’ cases without fail and that too immediately after such an incident.
Meanwhile, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is tasked with the security of metro stations, told the bench that as per CCTV footage, the 19-year-old woman had exited the AFC gates by “tailgating” another passenger.
The woman was successful on her third such attempt and managed to exit without a ticket, the CISF told the court.
The CISF, represented by Central government standing counsel Anil Soni, said the force was only concerned with screening passengers and their baggage prior to entry into the platform.
The DMRC said the sensors on the AFC gates do not detect when two persons exit in such a manner.
During the hearing on Thursday, an application was sought to be moved on behalf of a man whose 17-year-old mentally challenged daughter went missing after she boarded the Metro from Rithala station here more than a year ago. The girl is yet to be traced, the man’s lawyer told the bench.
The court directed the Delhi Police to file a status report regarding its investigation to trace out the 19-year-old woman and listed the matter for hearing on July 14.