NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Railways and SNCF Mobilites (a company owned by the French State) on Technical Cooperation in the field of Railways.

The MoUs provide a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector. The MoUs facilitate exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and seminars/workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing.

The MoU will provide a framework of cooperation for  focused approach in following key areas :-

1. High speed and semi-high speed rail;

2. Station renovation and operations;

3. Modernisation of current operations and infrastructure;

4. Suburban trains.

Background:

Ministry of Railways have signed MoUs for technical cooperation in the Rail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways. The identified areas of cooperation among others, include high speed corridors, speed raising of existing routes, development of world class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure, etc. The cooperation is achieved through exchange of information on developments in areas of railways technology & operations, knowledge sharing, technical visits, training & seminars and workshops in areas of mutual interest.

Cabinet

NewsTreaties/Conventions/International Agreements

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with the Federal Transport Authority – Land & Maritime of the United Arab Emirates on Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector. The  MoU will  enable technical cooperation in the following areas :-

  1. Regulation, safety and technical investigation of accidents;
  2. Station redevelopment;
  3. Locomotives, coaches and wagons; and
  4. Any other area jointly identified by the Participants.

Benefits:

The MoU will provide a platform to  Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector. The MoU will facilitate exchange of information, expert meetings, seminars technical visits and implementation of jointly agreed cooperation projects.

Background:

Ministry of Railways has signed MoUs for technical cooperation in the Rail sector with various foreign Governments and National Railways. The identified areas of cooperation inter alia include high speed corridors, speed raising of existing routes, development of world class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure, etc. The cooperation is achieved through exchange of information on developments in areas of railways technology & operations, knowledge sharing, technical visits, training & seminars and workshops in areas of mutual interest.

[Press Release no. 1527717]

Ministry of Railways

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the controversy relating to bids invited by the Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited for the design and construction of Metro Rail in the city of Nagpur, the Court held that M/s. Guangdong Yuantian Engineering Company (GYT) of China and M/s. TATA Projects Limited (TPL) as a Joint Venture (GYT-TPL JV) were not eligible to bid for the contract under consideration.

The issue arose in the light of one of the eligibility criteria specified by NMRCL where it was necessary that the bidder has satisfactorily completed a minimum number of similar contracts as a prime contractor, joint venture member during last 10 (ten) years i.e. up till 31.05.2016. According to GYT-TPL JV, it had executed the Pearl River Delta intercity high speed railway project in China, however, as per NMRCL, an inter-city high speed railway project did not meet the requirements of a metro civil construction work.

NMRCL has contended that there is a difference between an inter-city rail and a metro rail.  An inter-city rail is between two cities and the trains are usually high speed trains. A metro rail is intra-city, it has a dedicated right-of-way, normally it does not have high speed trains and the frequency of trains is much greater that of inter-city trains. A metro rail may extend, in some cases, to a suburb of a metropolitan city but it essentially remains an intra-city project. There is, therefore, a qualitative difference between an inter-city rail and a metro rail. By itself, this indicates a qualitative difference in a railway project that is inter-city and a railway project that is intra-city and the construction of a viaduct for a railway project that is inter-city and a railway project that is intra-city.

Considering the said difference highlighted by the he Court, hence, held that the fact that GYT-TPL JV made constructions in a metropolitan city or in a metropolitan area during the execution of the Pearl River Delta inter-city high speed railway project, does not make that project an intra-city metro rail project. It continues to be an inter-city railway project.

Regarding the interference with the decision of the owner or the employer in accepting or rejecting the bid of the tendered, the bench of Madan B. Lokur and R.K. Agrawal, JJ said that the owner or the employer of a project, having authored the tender documents, is the best person to understand and appreciate its requirements and interpret its documents. The constitutional Courts must defer to this understanding and appreciation of the tender documents, unless there is mala fide or perversity in the understanding or appreciation or in the application of the terms of the tender conditions. It is possible that the owner or employer of a project may give an interpretation to the tender documents that is not acceptable to the constitutional Courts but that by itself is not a reason for interfering with the interpretation given. [Afcons Infrastructure Ltd v. Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 940, decided on 15.09.2016]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Showing distress over the incident that occurred in 2011 where At least 14 young men were crushed and 20 others seriously injured having been hit by the Over Bridge and fallen from roof top of Himgiri Express which was running on a high speed, the Court held that though the people who travelled on roof top also contributed to the mishap, the Railway Administration was not free from blame as it must be expected of the persons concerned to be aware of the inherent danger in allowing the train to run with such speed having large number of persons travelling on roof top.
It was contended by the Railway Authorities that the roof riders refused to come down, in view of the volatile situation which occurred due to disturbance caused as a result of over 2 lakh candidates coming to Bareilly for recruitment in the Indo Tibetan Border Police, a decision was taken to move the train out of Bareilly with an idea to disperse the crowd. The Court rejected the said contention and said that even though it can be accepted that this was a reasonable and proper exercise as the crowd had to be dispersed which had congregated in Bareilly, it does not justify the further movement of train at a speed of 75 km per hour. It was further noticed that the Administration can certainly be taken to be aware of the fact that the Foot-Over Bridges or any structures on the way could possibly be a hindrance and could have caused such incident with people in large number on roof top and reasonable care would naturally be expected of those in charge of the Administration.
The bench of T.S. Thakur, CJ and UU Lalit, J, hence, directed that a Committee headed by a senior officer and assisted by at least three persons from the administration having technical knowledge and expertise be constituted within a period of four weeks from the date of this order to have an assessment of all road over bridges or infringements and to chalk out an action plan to remove such infringements. The Court further directed the Committee to complete the work as early as possible so that all infringements could be removed in shortest possible time and, in any case, not later than two years and to file periodic status Reports every six months in this Court. [Anil Kumar Gupta v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 657, decided on 05.07.2016]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Answering an appeal preferred against the judgement of the division bench of the High Court of Karnataka, a bench of Vikramjit Sen and Shiva Kirti Singh J.J. upheld the decision of division bench directing the Respondent-Railways to fix the outer or upper limit of rates chargeable by the contractors for transporting goods in different trains.

Regarding the question as to interference with the right of the executive to formulate policy, the Court held that power to make subsidiary legislation may be entrusted by the legislature to another body of its choice but the legislature should, before delegating, enunciate either expressly or by implication, the policy and the principles for the guidance of the delegates”. In applying this dicta, it was further said that if a shift from the Railways being a social vehicle to it being essentially a milch cow towards was intended, that mutation was only within the province of Parliament.

In the present case, where the validity of the notification holding the awarding of the contract of lease of the Front Second Class Luggage Rake (FSLR) and Ventilated Parcel Van (VP) of Karnataka Express for a period of two years by the railways was in question, the Court dismissing the appeal stated that Railway tarrif no doubt has to be realistic and keep pace with time and if the state so perceives, need not be a losing financial position. While it may be both pragmatic and sagacious to auction FSLR & VP it can be done with an objective of gathering the optimum revenue. Additionally the court directed the respondents to ensure that the successful tenderer does not charge carriage prices in excess of those prescribed in the Coaching Tarrif No. 24 Part III and permitted a period of three months to the respondents to comply with the impugned judgement of the Division Bench. [S.K.L. Co. v. Chief Commercial Officer 2015 SCC OnLine SC 1382decided on 29-12-2015]