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The “Minnal” KSRTC bus controversy has been blown way out of proportion

Ignorantia rupta via non excusat:- The ignorance of travel plans is not an excuse.

Minnal KSRTC vehicle. Credits: Mathrubhumi

The “Minnal” (Lightning) service of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation came into highlight this past week when a bus running the Pala – Kasargode route refused to stop for an adolescent girl in front of her house at midnight. The Police attempted to stop the bus twice, but the driver did not stop until they initiated a roadblock. The incident has led to quite a firestorm in social media circles.

Before we proceed, let me describe the incident, as I piece it together from various news reports: The 17 year old boarded the bus from Pala at 8 p.m. She had booked a ticket online till Kozhikode. She realized that the bus went until Kasargode when it reached Kozhikode, and decided not to alight, expecting the bus to stop at Payyoli, enroute to Kannur. However, the conductor informed her that the bus would only stop next at Kannur. She thus bought a ticket to Kannur. She called and informed her father about the events as it transpired. Her father informed the Payyoli police station, who attempted to stop the bus twice, but the driver ignored the police officers. The bus was then stopped via roadblock by the Chombala Police at around 3 a.m.

For those who don’t know Kerala’s geography, attached below is the map of the bus route, and you can see the places that I am talking about:

In my opinion, the fault in this particular incident is at with both parties – the girl for no being familiar with the bus’s travel plan, and the conductor and driver for not stopping the bus when the police signalled them to do so. The “Minnal” (Lightning) service of the KSRTC is meant to be an efficient time – saving service, and it is keeping mind this that it has limited stops. Buy buying the ticket online or otherwise, the consumer is agreeing to the terms of the service of the Corporation. Ignorantia juris non excusat; Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. In this case, Ignorantia rupta via non excusat, the ignorance of the travel plan is not an excuse. Especially for the girl to demand that the bus be stopped as per her whims and fancies. The decision of the Conductor to not stop the bus for her is therefore a right one. While some have stated that there exists a Government order that mandates that women be allowed to alight at any location of their choice in an overnight service, it is quite clear that it is not applicable to the Nationalized Minnal routes. As such, there exists no wrong on the side of the KSRTC. What they can and should be faulted for is their decision to ignore the police signalling.

The issue has been blown way out of proportion. While the conductor and driver are facing action for not stopping for the Police, the decision by the Women’s commission into this issue seems to be another misguided case of activism.

It is however absolutely ridiclous that the officials of the KSRTC are casting aspersions on the act of the Police, alleging it to be an “organized activity” to destroy the minnal service. The truth is that the KSRTC is doomed, regardless of the success of Minnal.

Let’s all take a breather and asses the issue in an objective nature, and not be swayed by rhetoric and sensationalism.


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