The Kerala High Court has directed the state government to ensure that vehicle tracking systems (VTS) and emergency buttons are installed in all public transport vehicles except e-rickshaws and three-wheelers by January 1, 2021. The court issued the order, in two public interest litigations (PILs) which sought strict implementation of provisions in the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 dealing with emergency buttons for the sake of women's safety. Jaffer Khan, who presented himself as a human rights protection activist, had claimed in his PIL that in 2014, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved a scheme to enhance the security of women in public transport in the country, in the context of the Nirbhaya rape case. He submitted that the Central government had amended the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 to mandate the installation of Vehicle Location Tracking Devices (VLTD). It had subsequently given state governments wide powers to implement the new rule in their own jurisdiction. Kerala had notified a deadline for the installation of the devices in September 2019, which it extended in February 2020. Khan told the court that though the state government had issued these notification, it hadn't taken any "effective steps" to implement the provisions. He also argued that the February 2020 order to extend the deadline was "highly illegal", since it was issued in an arbitrary manner. The court subsequently noted that Kerala has not yet set up a command and control centre to implement the tracking system. The second PIL, filed by…
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