mid-day impact: GRP books RPF inspector for travelling in disabled coach

Aug 21, 2017, 20:17 IST | Santosh Wagh

mid-day impact >> After relentless campaign by this newspaper on need to implement stringent Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, cop finally booked under the law

Sagar Bornare's selfie with RPF inspector VG Sable

In a first, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has booked a Railway Police Force (RPF) inspector for travelling in the handicapped compartment. An alert commuter, travelling in the same coach, alerted the cops on finding RPF inspector VG Sable without even a ticket on him. According to GRP sources, Sable has been booked under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016. The move follows a relentless campaign by mid-day against the menace of able commuters travelling in handicapped coaches.

The alert commuter

Police sources said the incident took place on August 11 when the complainant, Sagar Bornare, who is 42 percent disabled, boarded the 9.04 am fast local from Thane station to go to CSMT. Bornare said, "I had barely sat down in the compartment when this person with absolutely no apparent disability hopped into the compartment. He asked me to shift a bit so he could sit. When I asked him if he had some sort of handicap, he replied in the negative. Surprised, I asked him if he had a ticket on him. But he did not have that either. In order to alert the cops, I clicked a selfie with this person and tweeted it to Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu as well as the Railway Police commissioner."

Bornare had, apparently, called up the railway helpline on 182 before taking the selfie.

Police action
GRP personnel took immediate cognisance of the complaint and booked Sable. "We have registered a case under RPWD Act 2016 Sections 91 and 95 and sent a notice to the accused. We will file the charge sheet and summon the accused to the court soon," senior inspector Ashok Bhorde of the Kurla GRP.

Not the first time
Sagar Bornare said, "I have been writing and tweeting about this menace of general passengers travelling in disabled coaches for months. It was strange that the offenders were only booked under the Railway Act and were allowed to go with a fine of R150. Finally, the GRP seems to have taken some action against this menace. All previous offenders should be charged under the RPWD Act now."

Sections and punishment

>> Section 91: Whoever, fraudulently avails or attempts to avail any benefit meant for the persons with benchmark disabilities, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to R1 lakh or both.

>> Section 95: Where an act or omission constitutes an offence punishable under this act and also under any other Central or State Act then, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, the offender found guilty of such offence shall be liable to punishment only under such act as provides for punishment which is greater in degree.

No. of cops and govt staff caught travelling in disabled coaches between September 2016 and January 2017

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