By : M.S.Yatnatti: Editor and Video Journalist Bangalore : Law minister and Railway minister need to take note of supreme court and high court citations and advise RPF accordingly. In the wake of continuous threat RPF must be made dedicated force for railway protection and safety of passengers and safety of citizens and let the railway ministry divest the section 143 from RPF as per law. The world's fourth largest railway network - over 63,000km (40,000 miles) long, just behind the US, Russia and China - continues to have a patchy safety record: there have been more than 1,000 accidents since 2004 alone and every year accidents continuously happening . A vigilant and vibrant RPF is in demand as safety of railway is paramount important to the passengers. There is need of brining in entire railway track under CCTV camera surveillance 24/7 and each RPF constable is made responsible to watch 24/7 under shift duties KM wise. Reportedly Railway tracks have become one of the biggest killers in India. Over 50,000 people have been mowed down on the deadly tracks in over three years - from 2009 to June 2012 - for which figures are available."These deaths are not accident related, but those who lost their lives for trespassing and encroaching around the railway tracks,'' said the railway ministry. It is alleged that RPF instead of protecting railway and railway property is indulging itself in section 143 and in the guise of 143 arrest legitimate authorized agents under section 143 and discourage them and encourage unauthorized agents by taking bribes and it is alleged that RPF spend more time in section 143 as they get bribe from unauthorized agents and they have money in section 143 and allegedly forget their primary duty of safety of railway and because of their negligent many railway accidents are happening as RPF does not conduct surprise checks on tracks on daily basis. It is reported in news papers thatRailways has carried out around 65,000 surprise checks during 2011-12 in which around 786 touts were caught under section 143 , but they were set free after paying minor penalty,”. Instead of this RPF should have conducted 65,000 surprise checks on tracks and probably no accident could have happened due to defects in tracks. The Railway Travelers Service Agents (RTSA) association alleges that RPF is filing false cases on them and their staff who have been issued official ID cards and encouraging touts who are either their accomplices and relatives or railway staffaccomplices. Railway minister should order an enquiry and divest the powers of section 143 from RPF.RPF should purely work only on protecting the railway and not on section 143 of RPF Act. Let section 143 be given to local police station and station master can complain about any touts or unauthorized agents on complaints of passengers.
In a historic judgment in case of Sharad gupta Vs. Union of India the High Court Of Chhattisgarh on September 16,2014 held that "Thus, taking into consideration the relevant statutory provisions and following the law laid down by their Lordships of Supreme Court in the cited cases, it is held that the officer of the Railway Protection Force is a Railway servant within the meaning of Section 34 of the Act, 1989, and has not been conferred with all the powers of the officer in-charge of police station making an investigation un chapter XIV of the Code and he has no power to initiate prosecution by filing a charge sheet for offence punishable under Section 143 of the Act, 1989, before the jurisdictional magistrate under Section 173 of Code. He can initiate prosecution by filing criminal complaint under the provisions of the Code, and as such, the prosecution initiated by the officer of Railway Protection Force by filing charge sheet under Section 173 of the Code in this case was clearly unauthorized and contrary to the express provisions of law and also law laid down by the Supreme Court in case of Balkishan A. Devidaya (Supra).As a fallout and consequence of the above analysis, the applicant's conviction for commission of offence under Section 143 of the Act, 1989, followed by sentence as affirmed by appeal court is hereby set aside and the applicant is acquitted from the charge under Section 143 of Act, 1989.This order was pronounced in respect ofthe applicant -accused Sharad Gupta who was charge -sheeted by the Railway Protection Force (for short, RPF) for commission of offence punishable under Section 143 of the Railways Act, 1989 (for short, the Act, 1989) on a charge that on 16.10.1988 he was found involved in purchase and sell of computerized railway tickets reserved for different destinations with a view to carry on such business.