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'Pregnant women, disabled should get lower berth in train'

Jabalpur: The Madhya Pradesh High Court has said the Railways should modify its reservation system so that pregnant women, the disabled and those who are terminally ill get top priority in the allotment of lower berths.

The system where "VVIPs" (Very Very Important Persons) get first preference in lower berth allotment is "unpragmatic", it said.

A division bench of Justices Sanjay Yadav and Atul Sreedharan was hearing a Public Interest Litigation.

The bench said in its order on Monday that the Railways "is requested to consider re-prioritising the berth allotment by giving the highest priority to pregnant women, then to senior citizens and thereafter to the VVIPs".

The court had taken up the case suto motu (on its own), said advocate Aditya Sanghi, who appeared as petitioner to assist the court.

Sanghi told the court that pregnant women should get top priority for lower berth in the reservation process.

Accepting his contention, the court said, "Pregnant women are most vulnerable on account of their medical condition and it would cause them great inconvenience in occupying the middle or upper

berth.

"Thus, the dictates of reason and the fulfillment of a welfare state demands that they be given the highest priority along with passengers suffering from terminal illness or life threatening ailments like cancer and those who are physically or mentally challenged, be considered as priority No 1 for allotment of the lower berth," the order said.

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