IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS Dated: 06..04..2015 Coram: The Honourable Mr.SANJAY KISHAN KAUL, CHIEF JUSTICE and The Honourable Mr.Justice T.S.SIVAGNANAM W.P.No.14719 of 2012 C.Jebakumar George .. Petitioner versus 1.Union of India represented by its Secretary to Government Ministry of Railways Rail Bhawan Rafi Marg, New Delhi 110001. 2.Southern Railways represented by its General Manager Southern Railway Head Quarters Park Town, Chennai 600003. 3.The Director Central Bureau of Investigation Plot No.5-B, 6th Floor, CGO Complex, Lodhi Complex, New Delhi 110003. .. Respondents Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for the issue of a writ of mandamus, directing (a) the first respondent to direct the Railway Board to issue a proper and detailed guidelines regarding the issuance of the Emergency Quota tickets and to check the misuse from time to time file periodical reports in their websites, (b)the first respondent not to issue Emergency Quota tickets to the lower Reservation Classes of the Berths and Seats of the Indian Railways. (c.) the second respondent to ensure that the issue of Emergency Quota tickets is only in accordance to the guidelines issued by the Railway Board and (d) the 3rd respondent to further investigate the matter and report it to this Honourable Court for issuance of further action. For Petitioner ::: Mr.S.Sathiachandran For Respondents ::: Mr.V.Radhakrishnan Senior Counsel for Mr.V.G.Sureshkumar for R.2 No appearance for R.3 O R D E R
(The Order of the Court was made by The Hon'ble The Chief Justice) The petitioner seeks a direction against the Railway Board to issue proper and detailed guidelines regarding the issuance of Emergency Quota tickets to prevent misuse which is detected from time to time.
2. A counter affidavit filed by the respondents acknowledges that incidents periodically come to light where such misuse has taken place. The precautionary measures taken as set out in paragraph-8 of the counter affidavit are as under:
(o) No allotting berth/seat to such request if the person travelling is not self or his relatives.
(ii) If any allotment is to be made on such request, it will be cross checked with P.A. To Minister or M.P., and genuineness is verified.
(iii)All records pertain to the allotments are kept safely for further verification by officials of Railway or CBI.
Thus Railway has taken every precaution to prevent such touts from getting allotment in Emergency Quota.
3. It is further stated that the Comptroller and Auditor General makes observations while doing audit of PRS activities over Indian Railways, though no specific observations have been made against the Southern Railway by the agency. Routine preventive checks are stated to be taking place, including by CBI officials to avoid misuse of Emergency Quota by touts and travel agencies. The reason for the Emergency Quota and the system followed are set out in paragraphs 16 and 19 of the counter affidavit as under:
16.With regard to the averments set out in paragraph-18 of the affidavit, I state that Emergency Quota is allotted as per the Policy decision of Railway Board and as per instructions issued from time to time. Emergency Quota is allotted to the persons strictly as per their inter-se seniority in the Warrant of precedence as issued from the office of the President of India and is strictly followed. The remaining Emergency Quota after meeting the demands for self travel of HOR holders, Members of Parliament and other VIPs, shall be used to meet the demands received from VIPs and others. While deciding the persons for whom the Emergency Quota is to be utilised, the competent authority controlling the passenger travelling, nature of emergency like travelling on Government Duty, bereavement in the family, sickness, job interview, etc. With respect to Reservation system, the present PRS of Indian Railways is fully secured and highly transparent. Every transaction is routed through the system and no manual intervention is possible. All works are done by System itself like allotment of berth/seat, Coach, Lower berth or so, cancellations or modifications, refunds, preparation of Reservation Chart, etc., that is no manual intervention is allowed. Indian Railway has one of the best and secure online systems in the world. 19.With regard to the averments set out in para-21 of the affidavit, I state that the same are factually correct. Every Officer/Section/Federation maintains a register containing the details of applications for Emergency Quota, in which records are kept for all such requests, indicating all the journey details and also the source from whom the request has been received. The diary number of the request entered in the register is also to be indicated on the requests for Emergency Quota. This is being followed. This has been done to ensure a record of the persons who are sponsored for release of Emergency Quota and also details regarding the number of requests.
4.We are of the view that in order to check the malpractices, some steps have been taken and recorded, but the technology available now should itself suffice to prevent the misuse of Quota. Not only that, what is important to find out when such misuse is detected, whether there is any in-house collusion or not and if found, to take appropriate disciplinary action including deterrent to other officials.
5. We are not inclined to take over the job of the respondents by issuing any separate guidelines, but would like the respondents to place before the Court the current position through an affidavit setting out as to how many cases of misuse of Quota have been detected in the last three years and the action taken in pursuance thereof, including action against any officials found colluding. Such a report be filed by the Southern Railway Board within two months from today.
6. The writ petition is closed with the aforesaid direction. No costs.
List for compliance on 24.06.2015.
(S.K.K.,CJ.) (T.S.S., J.) Index:yes/no 06.04.2015 ksr Copy to: 1.The Secretary to Government Union of India Ministry of Railways Rail Bhawan Rafi Marg, New Delhi 110001. 2.The General Manager Southern Railways Southern Railway Head Quarters Park Town, Chennai 600003. 3.The Director Central Bureau of Investigation Plot No.5-B, 6th Floor, CGO Complex, Lodhi Complex, New Delhi 110003. The Hon'ble The Chief Justice and T.S.Sivagnanam, J. (ksr) W.P.No. 14719 of 2012 06.04.2015