Chennai, Dec 25 (BPNS)
Tamil Nadu transport department has released a draft gazette notification amending the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 with respect to sections 28&38 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 pertaining to the responsibilities of the bus conductor and driver.
The amendments, according to Motor Vehicle department officials will come into effect within 30 days of publishing the draft. The draft was published on Thursday, 23rd December.
The transport department took this step after complaints are on the rise of people harassing women commuters with inappropriate behavior and gestures. To date, the drivers and conductors of the buses were not empowered to act against such people who behave inappropriately toward women.
In addition to empowering the bus staff, the new amendment has also brought in provisions preventing the bus staff from touching women under the guise of supporting them from boarding and alighting the bus.
There were several complaints against bus staff acting discriminately against women passengers with a fish woman from Kanniyakumari forced out of a bus citing that she was smelling fish. In another incident, a driver and conductor of a TNSTC bus were arrested on December 10th after a woman complained that she was molested in a late-night bus by the crew.
A senior officer with the state Transport department while speaking to IANS said, “There were no provisions earlier for the drivers and conductors of stage carriers( buses) to act against passengers who annoy other passengers including women passengers with lewd gestures and behavior. With the amendment of the Transport act, they can now force such passengers out of the vehicle.
He said, “In addition to empowering the bus staff, the amendment also prevents the bus staff against inappropriate behavior towards women.”
The department will initiate strict actions against the conductor and driver of a bus if they are found behaving in an indecent manner towards women commuters.