The Bombay high court said on Friday that it had recommended the constitution of more women constable posts for the railways during an earlier hearing.
The court was hearing a suo motu public interest litigation based on a Hindustan Times report published on June 21, two days after a 25-year-old woman was molested at Nerul railway station, in an empty compartment of a Thane-bound local.
“Have you started the recruitment process? Expedite the process for recruiting women constables,” a division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi said. “Give priority to women constables. Or it will take five years to fill all posts.”
Assistant government pleader Rajesh Behere said even the strength of railway magistrates needed to be increased and the railway board could suggest some safety measures. The court has adjourned the hearing for two weeks. Earlier, the court had directed the heads of the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to come up with a plan to ensure posting of one policeman in each ladies compartment on all harbour, central and western railway trains.
On Thursday, the high court ordered the GRP inspector generals of CR and WR and the chief security commissioner of the RPF to sit together and work out a strategy to ensure safe travel for women commuting on trains.
The state had also filed an affidavit stating the committee headed by retired justice ChandrashekharDharmadhikari has been asked to give a detailed report on whether there is a necessity to amend sections 354, 506 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code - all dealing with various offences against women. The affidavit states that the report is expected by December.