The Delhi High Court recently directed the state government to ensure the completion of the project for panic button installation and Automatic Vehicle Location Tracking System (AVLTS) in all buses in Delhi.
A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad ordered that the project be completed within the time frame specified in the terms and conditions of the agreement signed between the government and the contractor.
The division bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in 2019, seeking directions for making arrangements for safety, security, and protection from crimes like “snatching, theft, and eve-teasing" to the citizens travelling in the DTC buses. The plea also sought direction to the respondent authorities to put CCTV cameras in all DTC buses in working conditions.
The plea by the Anti-Corruption Council of India also sought direction to lay tracking devices in all DTC buses, so that it helps to detect locations of buses at the time of arresting/catching unsocial elements/criminals by the police officials.
The division bench noted that a detailed counter-affidavit has been filed by the Transport Department, GNCTD, stating the issuance of tender for the installation of CCTV and GPS in existing DTC and cluster buses, and that a Letter of Acceptance (LoA) has been issued in favour of the bidder in 2019.
As per the agreement, the project is being implemented in all existing 3,762 DTC and 1,679 cluster buses, totaling 5,541 buses. The affidavit also stated that the installations include panic buttons and Automatic Vehicle Location Tracking System (AVLTS) in existing DTC and cluster buses.
“However, at present, all buses have not been equipped with such a system as the project got delayed on account of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the court noted.
Furthermore, the counter-affidavit stated that all the new buses, which are being inducted under the cluster scheme and in the fleet of DTC buses (pure electric buses), are equipped with CCTV, panic buttons, and vehicle tracking system, as per the statutory requirement of the law.
The HC also noted that the Directorate of Civil Defence, Revenue Department, GNCTD, initially deployed volunteers for three months on various dates and their services are being expanded regularly, as of today, 12,238 DTC and cluster bus marshals are on duty for the safety of female commuters.
The court held, “In light of the detailed and exhaustive counter affidavit filed by the Transport Department, GNCTD, no further orders are required to be passed in the instant petition.” Accordingly, it directed the GNCTD to ensure the completion of the installation project.
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