1. The duties of a Commissioner of Railway Safety as spelt out in Chapter III of the Railways Act 1989 are as under:-
- To inspect new railways with a view to determine whether they are fit to be opened for the public carriage of passengers, and to report thereon to the Central Government as required by or under this Act;
- To make such periodical or other inspections of any railway or of any rolling stock used thereon as the Central Government may direct;
- To make inquiry under this Act into the cause of any accident on a Railway; to perform such other duties as are imposed on him by this Act or any other enactment for the time being in force relating to Railways.
2. The term “such other duties” has been detailed in Sections 22 to 24 of the Act and covers the following:-
- sanctioning the opening of new railway lines after inspection on behalf of the Central Government;
- sanctioning the execution of all works, including new works, affecting the safety of running lines;
- when, after inspecting a line already in use or a rolling stock already authorised, the Commissioner is of the opinion that their continued use will be attended with danger to the travelling public, he may report his opinion to the Central government, who may then order the closure of the line or the discontinuance of the use of rolling stock; and
- to inspect such a closed line and sanction its re- opening for carriage of passengers and also report to the Central Govt.on the fitness for use of discontinued rolling stock.
3. Functional duties, including field inspections, of a Commissioner of Railway Safety, are amplified, among other technical publications, in the;
- General Rules for all open lines of railways in India including Metro Railways;
- Rules for the opening of a Railway or Section of a Railway for the public carriage of passengers;
- Indian Railways Code of practice for the Engineering department;
- Indian Railway Way, Bridge and Signal Engineering Manuals;
- Schedules of Dimensions;
- Conference Rules of the Indian Railway Conference Association;
- Railway (Notices of and Inquiries into accidents) Rules, 1998
4. After its separation from the Railway Board in May, 1941, a post of Chief Government Inspector of Railways, later designated as Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, was created to enable the Central Government to exercise “effective technical control”.
- Matters appurtenant to Field Inspections and statutory inquiries into accidents;
- Inspection Reports of Commissioners of Railway Safety;
- Reports of statutory inquiries held into accidents by the Commissioners. After careful study he forwards his considered opinion to the Controlling Ministry and the Railway Board with such recommendations as he considers necessary;
- Railway Board’s suggestions pertaining to corrections or amendments to General Rules, Rules for Opening of a Railway, Schedule of Dimensions, the P. Way, Bridge and Signal Engineering Manuals, Procedures for inquiries into accidents, Codes of Practice for Engineering Works and other publications; and
- Preparation of the Annual Report on the working of the Commission of Railway Safety and its placement in each House of Parliament.
- All the Technical publications indicated in para above including orders issued by Railway Board from time to time.
4.2 Field duties of the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety consist of inspections of sections of Railways, visits to the Railway Headquarters and Divisional Offices, Railway installations and Circle Offices. If considered necessary by him, he may himself hold inquiries into important accidents.
4.3 Some Commissioners of Railway Safety also perform duties of Commissioner of Metro Railways Safety defined in Metro Railways (Operations & Maintenance) Act 2002.