Supreme Court seeks detailed status report from Centre on implementation of Automatic Train Protection System KAVACH

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"Issue of guidelines/directions for the implementation of Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System called KAVACH Protection System in Indian Railways with immediate effect to ensure public safety", the plea has sought.

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central government to file a detailed status report on the plea future implementation of Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System called KAVACH Protection System.

Court was hearing a plea filed by Advocate Vishal Tiwari, in the wake of the disastrous derailment of the Coromandel express in June last year which had resulted in death of about 288 people and injury of more than 900 people.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and KV Vishwanathan was told by the Union's counsel difficulties in implementation.

Court had earlier sought Central government's response over implementation of KAVACH Protection System when it had directed Attorney General R Venkatramani to apprise it.

The instant Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed before the Supreme Court of India seeking setting up of an Enquiry Commission headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court to probe into the Odisha Train Accident that happened on 2nd June 2023 and reach the root cause of the accident. It is further sought that the commission submit its report within two months.

Stating that on 23 March 2022, the Ministry of Railways had announced a significant step towards enhancing the safety of train operations in India with the development of the indigenous Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System called KAVACH, the plea submitted, "The enforcement of safety mechanism of such train protection system is still not implemented on practical grounds as it has been clearly proven that the KAVACH which is an Automatic Train Protection System was still not applied in Speedy manner and such is still in the process of installing Kavach across the network."

The petition added that the key features of the KAVACH system include automatic brake application in case the locomotive pilot fails to act, the provision of line-side signal display in the cabin for improved visibility in foggy conditions and at higher speeds, continuous updating of movement authority, automatic whistling at level crossings, collision avoidance through direct loco-to-loco communication, and the inclusion of an SOS feature to control trains in emergency situations.

In this backdrop, it argued that this system is the need of the hour and if it was implemented in due time, such untoward and unwanted accident could have been avoided.

Case Title: Vishal Tiwari vs. Union of India and Anr.