Panic buttons to return in DTC buses

The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has decided to restart panic buttons all low-floor buses in the fleet, in the aftermath of the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedical student and the public outcry that followed.

The panic buttons, which had been disconnected last year, were started even as the Transport department was considering new approaches to improving the system.

Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami on Tuesday said the panic buttons on low-floor DTC buses would soon be operational.

"We had decided to stop this some time ago after reports that it was being used by passengers to stop buses in between bus stops. However, we have decided to resume these services to provide more security in public transport," Goswami said.

According to the Transport Minister, a private company had presented an upgraded version of panic buttons.

"In the present system, if the button is pressed, the warning light near the driver is activated. But in the private company's model, the panic button is connected to the fuel system and will bring the bus to a halt immediately," Goswami said.

He said the Transport department was looking at several options available in improving such systems in public transport.

Constable death: File proper response, HC tells cops

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up Delhi Police for not filing a proper response to a plea seeking a CBI probe into Constable Subhash Tomar's death during the anti-rape protest, saying it would summon the Police Commissioner if the policemen do not follow proper protocol in the case.

"You have to file a proper reply in a proper affidavit. This (reply filed by the police) is not acceptable. Perhaps I will have to take some drastic steps. Do you want the Commissioner of Police to stand here with the litigants? I can do that," Justice G P Mittal said. The court's remarks came after the reply on behalf of Delhi Police was filed in the form of a status report by the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) S B S Tyagi, instead of the Police Commissioner.

It gave a week's time to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Delhi government and the Delhi Police to file their response.

The directions of the court came on the plea filed by advocate G K Bansal in his individual capacity. Bansal has moved the court seeking a CBI probe into the case alleging contradictions in the statements of various officials including Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, eyewitnesses and the medical expert, on the reasons for Tomar's death.

Tomar (47) was admitted to RML Hospital on December 23 and died two days later due to injuries received during the anti-rape protests. During the hearing, Bansal termed the action of the police as committing contempt of the court's orders and asked, "Why is the Police Commissioner not filing the response?"

He alleged before the court that the Commissioner has been "advised" not to file a response in the case.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Siddharth Luthra, appearing on behalf of the Delhi Police, submitted that "at this stage, we are raising a preliminary objection" but assured the court that a proper reply would be filed within the stipulated time.

The court, meanwhile, directed the police to file short affidavits on a separate plea by the eight men accused in the constable's death. The plea seeks quashing of the FIR against them.

Shantanu Kumar and the other seven accused have sought quashing of the FIR registered on December 23 under penal provisions of attempt of murder and rioting on the ground that they have been framed by the police without any substantial proof.

The court asked the police to file its reply before February 20, the next date of hearing.

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