With crimes against women on the rise, the Bombay high court (HC) suggested use of the global positioning system (GPS) to map police stations across the state and connect the data to a mobile application, so the nearest police station can be reached with the touch of a mobile phone in case of an emergency.
The GPS is a space-based satellite navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth where there is an unobstructed line of sight for four or more GPS satellites.
“The suggestion is worth considering [for the state],” the division bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice AK Menon said on Friday, while hearing a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) raising concern over the safety of women. “In fact, the state government has already carried out the GPS mapping of most police stations across the state,” the judges said.
Madhav Jamdar, who represented one of the petitioners, put forth the suggestion, after advocate Rajiv Chavan submitted the government should be directed to provide hotlines connecting to the nearest police stations at public places.
One of the PILs is based on Hindustan Times reports highlighting the plight of women travelling on suburban trains, including the ordeal experienced by a Nerul resident on June 19, 2011. While the Nerul resident was on a train, a man jumped in and threatened to throw the woman out of the train, if she didn’t allow him to sexually assault her. At Juinagar, the woman somehow managed to get off and boarded another compartment.
When the woman approached the government railway police for help at Thane, a constable on duty demanded why she wanted to lodge complaint if “she was neither robbed nor raped” and refused to take down her complaint.
The court has posted the PILs for hearing on March 5 and the government is expected to inform its response to the suggestion on the next date.