RPF allowed to fine mask-less local train passengers: HC told

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Mumbai, Oct 29 (PTI) The Maharashtra government on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that it had empowered the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to impose fine on those local train passengers in the city, who are found travelling without face masks despite the pandemic.

The government also said that it was working out modalities to allow more people to use the local train services and also trying to develop a system of 'colour coded e-pass system' for it.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni made the submission before a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni.

Kumbhakoni was responding to a previous suggestion of the court to increase the number of local trains currently operating in the city, and to permit people from sectors besides essential services to use the services.

He told the bench on Thursday that the state had already permitted women to use the train services. It had also allowed lawyers to use trains to commute to work.

Employees of the Mumbai metro and private security guards, too, will be permitted to use the trains, the AG said.

Kumbhakoni added that the state was working out modalities of permitting more people to use the trains and that it was working on developing a system of colour coded, e-pass system for the local trains.

When the court added that the passengers must be encouraged to follow all COVID-19 safety norms, the AG said that all passengers would have to wear face-masks.

'Until now, only the Mumbai police had the power to impose fines for not wearing masks. We have empowered the RPF too to impose such a fine so that passengers do not travel in local trains without wearing masks,' Kumbhakoni said.

The HC was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations filed by lawyers seeking that they be permitted to use the local train services to commute to work.

Following the court's previous orders, currently all lawyers are permitted to use the train services during non peak hours. PTI AYA NP NP