The direction was passed by a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice A V Mohta after a public interest litigation filed by Samir Zaveri in 2008, seeking medical help for accident victims within an hour of the accident often termed as the “golden hour”. Zaveri lost both his legs in a railway accident.
“If the emergency medical centre set up at Dadar station is helping, why don't you (railways) replicate it at other major stations too? These centres may not be necessary at every station but at least at those that have witnessed more than 100 deaths in the past one year,” Chief Justice Shah said.
Advocate Suresh Kumar, appearing for Western Railways, told the court that in cases where there is a government hospital within 500-meter radius of the railway station, the accident victim is usually taken there. “But in the absence of a government hospital in the vicinity, the railways has tied up with certain private hospitals where victims can be taken,” said Kumar. Zaveri’s lawyer Jamshed Cama, however, told the court that, in most cases, victims are taken to a hospital an hour after the accident.
“The victim is left lying on the stretcher as the police complete their formality. By then the victim loses blood,” he said. Agreeing to this, the court said, “Prima facie a clear case is made out for establishment of similar medical centres at other suburban railway stations. The central and western railways shall consider setting up of such centres at stations like CST, Kurla, Thane, Kalyan, Bandra and so on.” The court has directed the railways (central and western) to file a report by April 16 on this matter.