The court noted the grievance of the petitioner, Samir Zaveri, that private hospitals were reluctant to treat injured victims and they had to be taken to distant government hospitals, which often led to fatalities because of loss of blood.
“The state has to look into the issue and ensure that all private hospitals give prompt medical aid to the injured and treat them without waiting for police formalities to be completed,“ said the judges.
Advocate Jamshed Mistry , amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case, informed the court that under the law private charitable trusts were required to offer free treatment to a percentage of patients who are poor. “Records show that for train accidents that have occurred at Charni Road station, victims instead of being taken to Saifee Hospital that is located next door, they are carried to St George’s Hospital. This wastes precious time,“ said Mistry .
The HC referred to the statistics of death on tracks and narrowed down the cause that ranged from overcrowding to crossing of tracks.“The real problem for mishaps is that the capacity of each coach is around 1,000 passengers, but as of today over 5,000 commuters travel in them. This has resulted in incidents of commuters falling down,“ noted the judges.
The judges also suggested that the Railways could consider measures like increasing the number and frequency of services, modifying seating arrangements so that people who are forced to hang on to the doors can stand inside, allowing suburban commuters to travel in long-distance trains and introducing doub le-decker trains.
Central Railway informed the HC that it had set up emergency medical rooms (EMRs) at Dadar, Thane and Panvel stations and would establish the remaining nine at Mulund, Kalyan, Dombivli, Vashi, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Diva, Wadala Road and Karjat by March 2016. The HC has directed the Western Railway (WR) general manager to submit an affidavit giving details of the plans to set up EMRs. Following HC orders, WR had undertaken to set up EMRs at stations that had more than 100 acci dents and included Churchgate, Mumbai Central, Bandra, Andheri, Goregaon, Malad, Kandivli, Borivli, Vasai Road, Virar and Palghar. The EMRs will provide emergency medial help and first aid to railway accident victims before they are shifted to the nearest hospital for further treatment. The court has also asked the Railways to take a decision on tying up with private hospitals in the Virar-Dahanu stretch to treat accident victims. The HC has scheduled further hearing of the case on January 25, 2016.