Supreme Court Receives Petition for Investigation of Odisha Train Accident Led by Retired Apex Court Judge

The Supreme Court of India has received a public interest litigation (PIL) petition urging the formation of a probe panel led by a retired judge from the apex court to investigate the recent train accident in Balasore, Odisha.

The incident, which occurred on June 2, resulted in the tragic loss of approximately 288 lives and left over 1,000 people injured. The two trains involved were the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express.

Advocate Vishal Tiwari filed the PIL, seeking specific directives to be issued to the Central government and Indian Railways. The PIL emphasizes the need for an expert commission, chaired by a retired Supreme Court judge and composed of technical experts, to analyze and evaluate the current risk and safety parameters within the railways.

The petition also calls for the establishment of a committee to investigate the root cause of the incident and propose systematic safety modifications within a two-month timeframe.

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The PIL highlights the importance of implementing the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, known as KAVACH, immediately to ensure public safety. The plea argues that accidents of this nature infringe upon the guaranteed rights to life and liberty under Article 21.

It emphasizes the necessity for judicial intervention due to the unregulated and negligent actions exhibited by the Respondent Authorities, asserting that public safety and preservation of life should be paramount concerns for the functioning of any state machinery. The plea further states that such incidents result in various ramifications, including train cancellations, diversions, and severe inconvenience to the public.

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The extensive damage to public properties is also highlighted as a financial burden on taxpayers.

The petitioner emphasizes the need for a separate compensation mechanism to address the consequences of such tragedies.

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