The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the railway ministry on the toilet system in trains that leads to open defecation, a petitioner said on Monday.
Acting on a complaint of Odisha-based activist Akhand, the commission has directed the railway board chairman to file a report within four weeks.
"The toilets in trains contribute to a major chunk of open defecation which litters on railway tracks," Akhand said.
Indian Railways daily runs 8,700 trains, reaching 7,000 stations and handling 2.5 crore of passengers per day, thereby adding to the open defecation menace.
"The existing toilet system in the coaches discharges excreta directly to the ground and the railway tracks. The consequences include unacceptable hygienic conditions, particularly at railway stations," he said.
"Due to open defecation there are high risks of water-borne or sanitation-related diseases," alleged Akhand.
The petitioner urged the rights panel to issue the order to the ministry to install bio-toilets or any other advanced systems in trains to avoid open defecation.