No restoration of full train services: HC

Chennai: Due to the spurt in the number of Covid cases, no direction can be issued to the Southern Railway to restore its services in full strength, the Madras High Court said on Tuesday.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy said this while disposing of a public interest writ petition from advocate Ramkumar Adityan.

Due to the sudden increase in the number of cases, the High Court itself has deferred its decision to bring back the physical hearing of cases, the bench pointed out.

On Tuesday, Tamil Nadu recorded 867 new cases while the active cases surged to 5,450.

The bench said that if the situation improves and the number of affected cases come down, the petitioner can approach the court again with the plea to restore full services by the Southern Railway.

The petitioner sought commencement of short service trains and suburban trains in Chennai in full swing.

In support of his prayer, he pointed out that the governments in the State and at the Centre had restored full air service, allowed full accommodation in cinema theatres and in buses, including air-conditioned ones.

The bench said that the protocol of maintaining minimum distance may not be possible as the trains will be over crowded.

It is for the railway authorities to seek the advice of experts on how far railways can be reopened, the bench said, adding that courts don’t have the requisite expertise in such matters.