SC constitutes a Committee on road safety


Court :
Supreme Court of India

Brief :
The bench comprising of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N.V. Ramana in a Writ Petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution has appointed a three-member committee to monitor the Central and State Governments on issues pertaining to road safety. Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan has been appointed as the Chairperson of the said Committee w.e.f. 15th May, 2014. The State Governments as well as different ministries, departments and wings of the Central Government looking after issues pertaining to road safety have been directed to submit their first report to the Committee within three months indicating the implementation and enforcement of all laws pertaining to the following: (i) licensing (ii) certification of fitness of vehicles (iii) limits of use of vehicles i.e. passenger carrying capacity, weight carrying capacity etc. (iv) use of road safety devices (v) adherence to norms including user of roads, and (vi) deployment of adequate manpower for enforcement of the existing provisions of law.

Citation :
Pt. Parmanand Katara vs. Union of India

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 295 OF 2012

REPORTABLE

S. RAJASEEKARAN        ...    PETITIONER(S)

VERSUS

UNION OF INDIA & ORS.        ...  RESPONDENT (S) 

RANJAN GOGOI, J.

J U D G M E N T

1. The petitioner is a leading orthopaedic surgeon of the 

country and the Chairman and Head of the Department  of 

Orthopaedic Surgery in the Ganga Hospital  at  Coimbatore. 

He  was/is  also  the  President  of  the  Indian  Orthopaedic 

Association,  the  largest  professional  body  of  orthopaedic 

1

Page 1

surgeons in the country.   In the course of  his professional 

duties spanning over  several  decades the petitioner,  while 

rendering professional  service to victims of road accidents, 

has come to realise that the large number of accidents that 

occur every day on the Indian roads, causing loss of human 

lives  besides  loss  of  limbs  and  other  injuries  resulting  in 

human tragedies,  are wholly avoidable.   In the light of the 

experience  gained  and  propelled  by  a  desire  to  render 

service beyond the call  of duty, the petitioner has filed this 

writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution seeking the 

Court’s intervention, primarily, in the matter of enforcement 

of  the  prevailing  laws  and  also  seeking  directions  for 

enactment  of  what  the  petitioner  considers  to  be  more 

appropriate  legislative  measures  and for  more  affirmative 

administrative action.   The petitioner  also seeks directions 

from the Court  for upliftment  of  the existing infrastructure 

and  facilities  with  regard  to  post-accident  care  and 

management to minimize loss of life and physical injuries to 

victims of road accidents.

2

Page 2

2. In the context of the aforesaid effort, the petitioner has 

set out detailed statistics published by the Ministry of Road 

Transport  and  Highways  (MoRTH)  in  the  volume  “Road 

Accidents in India 2010” highlighting the extent of increase 

of road accidents and fatal cases between 1970-2010.  In the 

aforesaid  publication  in  which  the  relevant  figures  are 

pegged  to  the  year  2010  it  is  reported  that  road  traffic 

accidents  in  the  said  year  i.e.  2010  numbered  nearly 

5,00,000  resulting  in  approximately  1,30,000  deaths  and 

serious  injuries  including  amputation  of  limbs  to  over 

5,00,000 persons.  One serious road accident in the country 

occurs every minute;  and one person dies in a road traffic 

accident every 4 minutes.  Road traffic accidents, therefore, 

have the potential of being one of the largest challenges to 

orderly  human  existence  necessitating  immediate  and 

urgent  intervention.   Not  only the existing laws,  which by 

themselves are inadequate,  are not  being implemented in 

the right  earnest;  the need for  changes in such laws and 

upgradation thereof,  though admitted,  are yet  to  see the 

light of the day.  Besides, victims of road traffic accidents die 

3

Page 3

in large numbers due to lack of timely and proper medical 

attention which,  inter alia,  is caused by avoidable disputes 

with regard to jurisdiction of  the administrative authorities 

including the police who are to deal with the matter instead 

of rendering immediate medical aid to the victim.  Failure to 

provide immediate medical attention resulting in death and 

irreversible injuries  is also due to  inadequate  facilities  for 

early removal of the victims of road accident to the nearest 

hospitals/medical  centres.   Inadequate  number  of 

ambulances  and  other  suitable  modes  of  transport  to 

transport  the  victims  of  road  accidents;  the  absence  of 

trauma centres in different hospitals, and lack of even basic 

health care facilities are additional  features that contribute 

to the unimpeded growth of the imminent menace to human 

life.   Such  unabated  growth,  it  may  be  mentioned,  is 

reflected  in  the  figures  beyond  2010  also.   In  fact,  the 

corresponding  figures  of  the  year  2012  available  in 

“Accidental Deaths and Suicides in 2012” a publication of the 

National Crime Records Bureau show a uniform graph for all 

4

Page 4

the relevant figures i.e. number of road accidents; fatal cases 

as well as serious injury cases. 

3. The petitioner has not visualized the magnitude of the 

problem that  he  seeks  to  highlight  on  the  basis  of  his 

individual perceptions.  He seeks to base his contentions on 

reports submitted by the Working Groups constituted by the 

MoRTH to survey the different facets of the problem as well 

as  research  and  authoritative  articles  published  on  the 

subject  by  persons  of  eminence.   It  will,  therefore,  be 

necessary to briefly outline what  has been dealt  with and 

indicated in the said reports and publications.

4. At  the outset,  there  are the  reports  of  four  Working 

Groups  set  up  by  the  first  respondent  to  submit 

recommendations and suggestions on short  term and long 

term measures to curb road accidents in the country.  The 

said four Working Groups were required to go into four ‘Es’ of 

road  safety,  namely,  Engineering,  Enforcement,  Education 

and Emergency Care.

5

Page 5

5. According to the Working Group on Enforcement, as on 

date,  India has the distinction of having one of the highest 

number of accidents and fatalities on roads.  After a detailed 

study the Working Group has recommended, in the main, the 

following measures for road safety :

(a) Amendment of Motor Vehicles Act to increase

fines and to provide for revision of fines every

3 years based on the Consumer Price Index.

(b) Overloading of commercial vehicles should be

prosecuted  under  the  Damage  to  Public

Property Act. Liability should be imposed on

the transporter, consignor and consignee.

(c) Use of Road Safety devices – there should be

no exemption for  wearing helmets  (such as

the exemptions in favour of women in some

States).  Seatbelts  should be compulsory for

driver and front-seat passenger.  On national

highways, seatbelts should be compulsory for

back-seat passengers, too.

(d) In case of  drunken driving (Section 20/185,

MV Act),  the norm should be suspension of

the  driving  license  and  should  be  strictly

enforced by traffic police and courts.

6

Page 6

(e) Traffic  Violations  Database  should  be

maintained  to  record  data  of  violating

vehicles,  drivers  and  offences  committed.

This  would  help  identify  habitual  offenders

who could be awarded enhanced punishment.

(f) Checking of overcrowded passenger vehicles,

and cancellation of permit.

(g) Improvement of road engineering: Concerned

departments  must  inspect  roads  where

frequent accidents occur.

(h) Digitization of driving licenses in the country,

so  that  defaulters  cannot  obtain  other

licenses (upon cancellation or suspension of

their license).

(i) Issue  of  Fitness  certificate  for  commercial

vehicles  should  be  based  on  stringent

inspection.

6. The Working Group on Emergency Care took note of the 

fact that a large number of potentially salvageable patients 

die needlessly due to delay in retrieval  and inadequate or 

ineffective treatment.   In its report the Working Group had 

7

Page 7

enumerated  the  following  problems  in  accident  and 

emergency care delivery in India :  

(i) The general public does not possess basic first aid

skills.

(ii) There is no standardized toll free access number to

call emergency medical help.

(iii) Non availability of appropriate and safe transport

for injured patient in the form of road ambulances,

air ambulances etc.

(iv) The ambulances are inappropriately/ inadequately

equipped.

(v) There  is  lack  of  awareness  regarding  Hon’ble

Supreme Court of India’s directives regarding the

right  to emergency care for RTA victims and the

legal protection available to good Samaritans who

offer help to a victim of a road accident.

(vi) There  is  no  provision  to  ensure  adequate

compensation  to  an  RTA  victim  in  case  the

accident  causing  vehicle  does  not  have  a  third

party insurance.

8

Page 8

(vii) Majority  of  the  drivers  do  not  have  a  personal

mediclaim  policy  to  cater  to  their  emergency

medical needs in case of an accident.

7. Insofar  as  the  report  of  the  Working  Group  on 

Engineering  is  concerned  it  was  observed  that  the  road 

network in the country is historically developed with a view 

to providing accessibility rather  than mobility.   In the said 

report  it  was  also  noted  that  the  available  funding  for 

maintenance and repairs of  National  Highways Network is 

only 35-40% of the estimated fund requirement.

8. Insofar  as  road  safety  education  is  concerned  the 

following extract from the report  of  the Working Group on 

Road Safety Education would highlight the dimensions of the 

issue :

“On an average, 20 percent of all people killed in

road accidents in developing countries are under

the age of fifteen.   This is twice as high as in the

developed  world.   In  India,  there  is  one  road

accident  every  minute,  and  one  fatal  accident

every fourth minute.  There are as many as thirty

five  accidents  per  thousand  vehicles,  and  the 

9

Page 9

drivers  involved in road crashes  are  in the  age

group  20-40  years.   Two  wheelers  and  cars

contribute  to  50  percent  of  the  total  accidents.

Road  crashes  cost  approximately  one  to  three

percent  of  a  country’s  GDP.   Other  than  road

engineering  issues,   most  of  the  accidents  are

caused by the drivers fault.   While some experts

say it is around 50 percent,  the MoRTH said that it

was around 80 percent.   Whatever  be the exact

figure,  we  do  need  to  focus  on  education  and

enforcement for improving driver performance.”

“Road  Safety  Education  should  not  remain  a

matter of words.  Students must be educated in a

way that  brings them alive to the issues of  road

safety.

The report further states that, “Enforcement has a

key  role  in  encouraging  improved  road  users

behavior.   The  general  deterrence  provided  by

enforcement  authorities  will  promote  public

perception  that  “compliance  everywhere  all  the

time”  is the best  way of  avoiding penalties  and

improving safety.   Often fear  of  the stick  works

better than the stick itself.”

10

Page 10

9. A detailed reference has been made by the petitioner to 

the report submitted by Shri S. Sundar [Former Secretary in 

the Ministry of Surface Transport and Distinguished Fellow of 

The Energy and Resources Institute  (TERI)]  under  whom a 

Committee was constituted in the year  2005 to deliberate 

and make recommendations for creation of a dedicated body 

on road safety and traffic management.  The Committee was 

also requested to draft  the National  Road Safety Policy for 

consideration of the Government.  While submitting its report 

in February, 2007 the Committee, inter alia, recommended a 

draft National Road Safety Policy which was approved by the 

Cabinet  in its meeting held on 15.3.2010.   The said Policy 

outlines  the  initiatives  that  are  to  be  taken  by  the 

Government  at  all  levels  to  improve  road  safety  in  the 

country.  The major initiatives under the Policy are :

(a) To  promote  awareness  about  road  safety

issues.

(b) To ensure safer road infrastructure by way of

designing safer road, encouraging application

of Intelligent Transport System etc.

11

Page 11

(c) To ensure fitment  of  safety features at  the

stage  of  designing,  manufacture,  usage,

operation and maintenance.

(d) To strengthen the system of driving licensing

and training to improve the competence of

drivers.

(e) To  take  measures  to  ensure  safety  of

vulnerable road users.

(f) To  take  appropriate  measures  for

enforcement of safety laws,

(g) To ensure medical attention for road accident

victims.

(h) To encourage human resource development

and R&D for road safety.

(i) To strengthen the enabling legal, institutional

and financial environment for promoting road

safety culture in the Country.

10. In  an  article  authored  by  Justice  A.R.  Lakshmanan, 

erstwhile Chairman of the Law Commission, which appeared 

in the newspaper “The Hindu” on 10

th

 July, 2011 a number of 

suggestions have been offered for  road safety.   The most 

12

Page 12

significant  of the aforesaid suggestions and relied upon by 

the petitioner may be usefully extracted below.

“a) For  ensuring  the  safer  use  of  roads  it  has

been suggested that  all  State  Governments

notify rules in their respective states for the

following:

. The removal and the safe custody of the

vehicles including their loads which have

broken  down  or  which  have  been  left

standing or have been abandoned on a

highway;

. the  determination,  maintenance  and

management  of  parking places  for  the

use  of  vehicles  and  animals  and  the

fees, if  any,  which may be charged for

their use;

. prohibiting  the  use  of  footpaths  or

pavements by vehicles or animals;

. prohibiting  or  restricting  the  use  of

audible  signals  at  certain  times  or  in

certain places;

. regulating the loading of vehicles and in

particular,  limiting the loads  carried in

relation to the  size  and nature  of  the

tyres fitted;

. a right  of  way for ambulances and fire

brigade vehicles;

. the control  of animals likely to frighten

other animals or pedestrians;

13

Page 13

. the control of children on highways;

. prohibiting the riding by more than two

persons  at  the  same  time  on  cycles

other  than  cycles  designed  for  the

purpose;

. prohibiting the riding of more than two

cycles abreast;

. limiting the age of drivers of vehicles;

. regulating  the  driving  of  vehicles  of

vehicles and animals at night; and

. regulating  the  use  of  highways  by

pedestrians.”

b) For ensuring safer public vehicles it has been

suggested that the State Governments of all

States notify the following rules.

(a) The  width,  height  and  length  of

vehicles;

(b) The  size,  nature  and  condition  of

wheels and tyres;

(c) Brakes;

(d) Lamps and reflectors;

(e) Warning devices;

14

Page 14

(f) The  inspection  of  vehicles  by  prescribed

authorities;

(g) Regulating the particulars exhibited

on vehicles and the manner in which such

particulars shall be exhibited.

c) It  has  been  suggested  that  the  State

Governments  notify rules  for  regulating the

use  of  public  vehicles  in  the  following

manner:

. the documents, plates and marks to be

carried by public vehicles, the manner in

which  they  are  to  be  carried  and  the

language in which such documents is to

be expressed;

. the badges and uniforms to be worn by

drivers;

. the fees to be paid for permits, driving

licences, duplicate copies of  permits or

driving  licences,  plates,  badges,  and

appeals  preferred  before  statutory

authorities;

. the  limiting  of  the  number  of  public

vehicles  or  public  vehicles  of  any

specified class or description,  for which

permits may be granted in any specified

area, or on any specified route or routes;

. the fixing of maximum or minimum fares

or freights;

15

Page 15

. the maximum number of passengers or

the  maximum quantity  of  goods  that

may be carried in a public vehicles;

. the  conditions  subject  to  which

passengers,  luggage  or  goods  may  be

carried in a public vehicle;

. the construction and fittings or and the

equipment  to  be  carried  by  public

vehicles,  whether  generally  or  in

specified areas  or  on specified routes;

and

. the  safe  custody  and  disposal  of

property left behind in public vehicles;

d) It  has  been  suggested  that  the  State

Governments  notify  the  following  Regulations

for  Traffic  Personnel  to  enforce  discipline  in

regard  to :

. Non-observance of traffic rules;

. Jumping the red light;

. Crossing the red light;

. Driving without valid licence;

. Driving  under  the  influence  of

liquor/drugs;

. Driving while talking on the mobile;

. Driving without helmet;

16

Page 16

    . Overloading of passengers in autos.  In

shared auto-rickshaws, the driver’s seat

is often occupied by three persons.

. An entire family (minimum four persons)

riding  a  scooter/motorcycle  without

realizing that this is a traffic offence and

such travel is at the risk of their lives;

. Haphazard  parking  of  auto-rickshaws,

vehicles and government buses.

. Over-speeding,  crossing the yellow line

or  violating  traffic  rules  by

scooter/motorcycle;

. Violation of traffic signals on a one-way

road or complete violation of the traffic

signal; 

. “Jam-packed”  or  extremely  crowded

stage carriages;

. Confiscation of  Vehicles fitted with LPG

cylinders  which  are  meant  for  home

kitchen, and arrest and prosecution the

owners/drivers of such vehicles;

. Installation of weigh bridges at all entry

and exist  points to and from a city as

well  as  toll  collection  centres  to  keep

overloading of vehicles under check;

. Round-the-clock  mobile  court/mobile

policing  of  roads,  not  limited  to  peak

hours.

. Digging of roads by various public utility

agencies,  like  Telephone  or  Electricity 

17

Page 17

Corporations,  causing inconvenience  to

road-users.

. Common  traffic  violations  such  as

driving in the wrong direction, breaching

speed limits, and jumping traffic lights.”

11. Apart from seeking appropriate directions in the light of 

the  above  suggestions,  the  petitioner  also  seeks  the 

constitution of a monitoring agency to ensure that the said 

suggestions are notified by the State Governments within a 

time frame.

12. Apart  from  the  above  suggestions  the  erstwhile 

Chairman  of  the  Law Commission had also suggested an 

amendment  in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution to 

enable enactment  of  a central  legislation with  regard not 

only to national  highways but  also in respect of roads and 

traffic  thereon  in  addition  to  vehicles  other  than 

mechanically propelled which as of today falls under Entry 13 

of the State List.  

13. Taking  into  account  the  recommendations  and 

suggestions contained in the above reports of the Working 

18

Page 18

Groups and the other publications and views referred to, the 

petitioner  has contended that  in the larger  interest  of  the 

members of the public using the national highways, the State 

highways  and  all  other  arterial  roads  that  connect  the 

different places and centres of the country the suggestions 

offered by the petitioner would be worthy of consideration for 

incorporation in the firm directions of this Court under Article 

142 pending the necessary enactment thereof by means of 

appropriate legislation by the Union and the States wherever 

required.  The core of the said suggestions are as follows:

(a) Owing  to  the  severity  of  the  problem and  the

fragmented  nature  of  responsibility  of  the

concerned Ministries/departments, the PMO should

have  direct  responsibility.  There  should  be  a

central coordinating body under the PM’s direct

leadership with order  it and powers and definite

targets.

(b) Directions to ensure:

(i) Liability of IRDA in case person is denied

treatment  due  to  delay  in  sanction  of

insurance money.

19

Page 19

(ii) Equal,  if  not  higher,  compensation  to

those  persons  injured  as  is  given  to

those who have died as a result of the

RTA.

(iii) All vehicles must have compulsory thirdparty

insurance.

Currently,

22%

vehicles

 

are

uninsured.

(iv) Liability for  emergency expenditures of

injured,  so that  the injured/their  family

do not have to take recourse to touts.

(c) Directions to R-2 for  strict enforcement  of  traffic

violations, since every traffic violation is a potential

RTA.  R-2 should maintain a minimum number  of

traffic policemen – as per the road conditions and

population – in a region. It must ensure that such

personnel  are not  diverted for  any other  reason

(such as ‘bandobust’).

(d) Annual  vehicular  inspection  should  be  made

compulsory by R-1. Such inspection should involve

the  manufacturers  of  the  vehicles  also  as  they

possess  the  requisite  knowhow of  the  particular

vehicle.   R-1 should be  directed  to  ensure  that

roads  are used for  transportation alone and not 

20

Page 20

other  purposes  such  as  hawking,  religious

processions, marriages etc.

(e) Road safety education should be incorporated in

school curricula and inculcated in every citizen.

(f) Directions to R-1 regarding licensing:

(i) There  should  be  a  cap  on  the  number  of

licenses that can be issued by the concerned

official  in one day,  so that every application

for  a  license  is  strictly  checked  and

evaluated.  Petitioner suggests a cap of  four

licenses issuable per official per day.

(ii) Prescribe  minimum  education  and

qualification standards for drivers.

(iii) Test the knowledge of safety standards, roads

rules,  signboards,  road  markings  etc.  in

addition to  mere  ability  to  drive.   Licenses

ought not to be issued, as presently done, on

the  basis  of  the  criteria  of  ability  to  drive

alone.

(iv) Licensing should be based on biometrics to

prevent  multiple  licenses  issued  to  one

person.

21

Page 21

(v) Computerized licensing to track offences and

introduce  a  point-based penalty  system for

offenders.

(vi) Bar coding of vehicles and licenses to link to

the  penalty  system,  the  annual  fitness

certificate of the vehicle, and insurance forms

for instant information.

(vii) Restrictions on the number  of  new vehicles

registered  and  number  of  vehicles  a

family/person  can  own,  methods  to  ensure

road-worthiness  of  vehicle,  periodic  license

renewal etc.

13. The  Respondent  No.  1,  namely  Ministry  of  Road 

Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has filed a detailed counter 

affidavit in the case highlighting the steps undertaken by the 

Ministry as well  as other associated Ministries/Departments 

of  the Union to combat  the challenge posed by the huge 

number of road accidents that occur throughout the length 

and breath of the road network in the country.  The contents 

of the said affidavit will have to be noted in some detail  to 

comprehend the steps that have been undertaken and also 

22

Page 22

the plans and schemes that have been evolved or are in the 

process of being evolved as possible answers to the problem.

(a) According  to  Respondent  No.  1,  on  15.03.2010  the

Government  of  India has approved the National  Road

Safety Policy.  The salient features of the said Policy are:

“…… promoting awareness, establishing road

safety  information  data  base,  encouraging

safer road infrastructure including application

of intelligent transport, enforcement of safety

laws etc.”

(b) The  National  Road  Safety  Council  as  contemplated

under  Section  215  of  the  Motor  Vehicles  Act,  1988

(hereinafter for short ‘the Act’) has been constituted by

the Respondent No. 1 and advisories have been issued

to the States to set up Safety Councils at the State and

District levels.  The functions of the National Council set

up under the Act are:

“The  Councils  and  Committees  referred  to  in

this  section  shall  discharge  such  functions

relating to the road safety programmes as the

Central  Government  or the State Government, 

as the case may be, may, having regard to the

objects of the Act, specify.”

23

Page 23

(c) An  amendment  to  the  Act  to  provide  enhanced

penalties for different offences has been passed by the

Upper  House  on  8.5.2012  and  the  Bill  is  presently

pending before the Lok Sabha.  So far as overloading of

vehicles, a major cause of road accidents, is concerned,

according to the Union, the enforcement of the law in

this  regard  is  the  responsibility  of  the  State

Governments.  27 States, according to Respondent No.

1, have taken necessary action for enforcement of the

provisions  of  Section  114  of  the  Act.   Similarly,

enforcement of the provisions contained in Section 129

of the Act regarding wearing of helmets and Rule 125(1)

of the Central  Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 (hereinafter

for short ‘the Rules’) with regard to seat belts etc. is the

responsibility of the State Governments.   According to

the  respondent  No.  1,  in  collaboration  with  NIC,  a

national  register  as well  as State registers have been

created  to  act  as  a  centralized  database  for  driving

licenses and registration certificates.  Furthermore, it is

stated  that  “out  of  993  RTOs,  992  RTOs  have  been

connected with State registers/national register through

VPNoBB/LL connectivity and RTOs/DTOs data  is being

replicated  at  State  Register/National  Register  in

Asynchronous Mode.  The National and State Registers

are customized with portal VAHAN & SARATHI software

for  compiling/  digitizing  the  data  on  DLs  and  RCs 

24

Page 24

respectively.   State  Transport  Departments  and

Enforcement  agencies  have  been  provided access  to

the data on National Register and State Registers.”  

(d) Insofar  as  fitness  certificates  for  commercial  vehicles

under Section 56 of the Act is concerned, according to

the  Respondent  No.  1,  it  is  the  States  who  are

responsible for issuing fitness certificates to commercial

vehicles.  However the Ministry (MoRTH) has designed

model  inspection and certification centres for effective

inspection and certification of motor vehicles from the

point  view  of  safety  and  emissions.   Furthermore,

according  to  the  Ministry,  the  installation  of  model

Centres in 10 States has been planned and 9 centres

have been sanctioned till  date  which are at  different

stages of implementation.  

(e) Insofar as road engineering is concerned, according to

the Ministry, road safety has been made an integral part

of the road design and road safety audit of the selected

stretches  of  national  highways  and  expressways  are

being regularly conducted.  Further more, according to

the  Ministry,  a  Committee  has  been  constituted  for

formulating a National Ambulance Code which has since

been finalized.  Incorporation of the said Code within the

framework of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules is under

consideration.  In its counter affidavit, the Ministry has 

25

Page 25

also stated that a Committee has been set up to make

recommendations  for  a  National  Helpline  for  road

accident victims based on a common toll  free number

(1033) with dedicated round the clock call centres.  At

the said centres, calls from the State Highways will also

be accepted and will  be forwarded to the concerned

agency for providing relief.  

(f) So far as road safety  education is concerned, it has

been stated in the counter affidavit of the respondent

No.  1  that  a  syllabus  in  first  aid  has  been  made

compulsory in driving schools;  plan are underway for

incorporating  a  chapter  for  road  safety  for  school

children and a book called “Sign Language” containing

a chapter  on helping road accident  victims has been

published  and  circulated  in  adequate  number  to  all

State Government schools as well  as schools affiliated

to the CBSE.  

(g) Dealing  with  the  issue  of  compulsory  insurance  the

Ministry has stated that  under Section 146 of the Act

there is a prohibition on use of a motor vehicle which

has not been insured.  According to the Ministry it has

issued  a  Circular  dated  20.6.2013  to  all  State

Governments to enforce the aforesaid provision of the

Act.  

26

Page 26

(h) Insofar  as  licensing  and  prescription  of  minimum

education  and  qualification  for  drivers  is  concerned,

according  to  the  Ministry,  adequate  provisions  exist

under  the  Act  as  well  as  the  Rules.   So  far  as

enforcement  thereof  is  concerned,  according  to  the

Ministry, a Committee has been set up to recommend

staffing norms for the office of Motor Licensing Officers.

Further more, according to the first respondent, setting

up of adequate number of Institute of Driving Training &

Research (IDTR) and Regional  Driving Training Schools

(RDTs) is contemplated and plans are also afoot to link

these centres with the jurisdictional RTO for conducting

necessary tests before issuing driving licenses.  

(i) Refresher training course for heavy vehicle drivers are

being organized to inculcate safe driving habits and to

acquaint the drivers with the rules to be followed while

using the roads.

(j) Publicity  measures  and  awareness  campaign  of  road

safety  is  carried out  through DAVP,  Doordarshan,  All

India Radio and newspapers  and a suitably designed

system throughout the country for rigorous inspection of

motor vehicles and to remove the defects before they

are  allowed to  ply  on roads  is  under  contemplation;

necessary amendments  in the Central  Motor  Vehicles

Rules would be carried out prescribing these tests which 

27

Page 27

will  replace the presently visual  inspection of vehicles

which is in force.  

(k) Insofar as post-accident medical response is concerned,

it  is  stated  that  the  Ministry  of  Health  and  Family

Welfare  (MoHFW)  has  established  trauma  centres  in

State Government hospitals to the extent possible and

during the 11

th

 Plan the   MoHFW had identified 140

government  hospitals  in  16  States  along  the  golden

quadrilateral  highway  for  establishing  trauma  care

facilities.   The scheme is proposed to be extended to

another  85 government  hospitals during the 12

 Plan

and such facilities will be located near or on the national

highways.

(l) A pilot project has been introduced along a stretch of

NH-8 between Delhi and Jaipur wherein 11 ambulances

had been deployed at intervals of 20 kilometers and the

government has undertaken to bear the treatment cost

upto Rs.  30,000/-  for the initial  48 hours.   A National

Highway Accident Relief Service Scheme (NHARSS) has

also been launched to provide immediate  eviction of

injured victims to the nearest medical  aid centre and

adequate  number  of  cranes  of  different  capacities,

ambulances and life-support  ambulances to carry the

victims to 140 identified hospitals had been provided in

different States.  24 interceptors have been sanctioned 

28

th

Page 28

to the States and Union Territories to detect violations

under the Act.  In the counter affidavit filed by the first

respondent it is also stated that following the decision of

the  Supreme  Court  in  Pt.  Parmanand  Katara  vs.

Union of India

1

 instructions have been issued by the

Ministry to all  the State Governments emphasising the

need for providing medical aid to road accident victims

without waiting for the police for completion of the legal

formalities.   Reference  is  made  to  a  circular  dated

19.02.2004 issued to all  State Governments regarding

the necessity of  building confidence in the public for

helping road accident victims.  In the said circular it is

emphasized that the members of the public, who render

voluntary help to persons injured in accidents, should

not  be unnecessarily questioned and detained in the

police  stations  and  further  that  they  should  not  be

harassed or forced to give their particulars. 

14. There are several  other  significant  aspects connected 

with the present matter that have been highlighted by the 

Ministry (MoRTH).     The National  Road Safety and Traffic 

Management Board Bill 2010 for creation of a National Road 

Safety and Traffic Management  Board (NRSTMB)  has been 

emphasised.   The said Board is intended to act  as a lead 

1

 (1989) 4 SCC 286

29

Page 29

agency  to  oversee  road  safety  and  traffic  management 

activities  in  the  country.   The  functions  of  the  Board  as 

stipulated in the Bill  include specification of  standards  for 

construction  and  maintenance  of  national  highways; 

specifying the safety standards for  mechanically propelled 

vehicles;  to  maintain  a  comprehensive  database  on  road 

safety; to issue guidelines for training and testing of drivers; 

establishment  and  upgradation  of  trauma  centres  in 

consultation with the Directorate General of Health Services. 

At present, the Bill is pending before the Lok Sabha though 

the  Parliamentary  Standing Committee  has  recommended 

scrapping  of  the  same  on  the  ground  that  the  Board  is 

merely a recommendatory body and is a further addition to 

the several  other existing bodies acting in an advisory and 

recommendatory capacity.

15. The  proposed  substitution  of  Section  163A  and  the 

Second Schedule to the Act which has been approved by the 

Rajya Sabha on 8.5.2012 has also been highlighted in the 

30

Page 30

affidavit as a move to ensure payment of higher/substantial 

compensation to victims of road accidents.  

The  Bill  amends  sub-section  (3)  of  Section  163A 

permitting  the  Government  to  revise  the  amount  or 

multiplier  specified  in  the  Second  Schedule  every  three 

years,  based on the cost of living and rise in price index. 

The corresponding sub-section in the principal Act permitted 

the Government to do so “from time to time”.

The Bill replaces the Second Schedule to lay down a 

new  scheme  for  calculating  the  compensation  amount 

payable to a victim or his/her kin.  The formula for working 

out compensation is as follows:

(a) The proven annual  income of  the victim is to be

worked out.

(b) Appropriate  multiplier  (higher  of  the  multiplier

based on the age of the victim and the age of the

surviving/dependent  parents/spouse/children)  to

be applied.

31

Page 31

(c) Multiply  the  proven  annual  income  by  the

appropriate  multiplier  to  arrive  at  compensation

amount, subject to following namely:-

(i) The  amount  of  compensation  payable  for

Permanent  Total  Disablement  as  defined  in

Schedule I of the Workmen’s Compensation Act,

1923  (8  of  1923)  shall  be  determined  by

application of  appropriate  multiplier  to proved

income, subject to maximum of Rs.10 lakhs.

(ii) The amount of compensation so arrived shall

be reduced by 1/3

rd

 in respect of  fatal  accidents

(reduction of  1/3

rd

 represents  living expenses for

deceased person, had he been alive).

The  maximum  annual  income  for  calculation  of 

compensation is proposed to be fixed at Rs.1 lakh as against 

the  present  amount  of  Rs.40,000/-.   The  minimum 

compensation amount payable is increased to Rs.1 lakh from 

the erstwhile Rs.50,000/-.   In case of death of non-earning 

person, the Schedule fixes the compensation at Rs.1 lakh for 

children upto 5 years of age, and at Rs.1.5 lakh for persons 

more than 5 years of age.  Where such a person is grievously 

injured in an accident, the maximum compensation that may 

32

Page 32

be awarded is Rs.50,000/-.  In case of non-grievous injuries, 

the  non-earning  person  may  be  awarded  a  maximum 

compensation of Rs.20,000/-.  The Bill also seeks to enhance 

the general damages payable in case of death and disability.

16. Finally, in its counter affidavit, the Ministry (MoRTH) has 

stated that the enforcement of the core provisions of the Act 

comes within the purview of the States/Union Territories and 

though the first  respondent  has  been impressing upon all 

States/Union  Territories  for  strict  enforcement  of  the 

provisions of the Act by issuing advisories from time to time, 

eventually, it is upto the States to respond appropriately in 

the matter.

17. The  narration  above  indicates  the  enormity  of  the 

problem;  the issues  connected therewith;  the  suggestions 

made in different quarters for resolution and the attempts to 

provide a solution.   The  mosaic of  facts,  information and 

suggestions  have  been  laid  only  to  serve  as  a  basis  to 

undertake the exercise imminently necessary to resolve the 

issue,  to  the  extent  possible,  so  far  as  the  present  is 

33

Page 33

concerned and to visualise what could be the requirements 

of  the future.   We wish to make it  clear  that  the exercise 

attempted cannot be considered to be either infallible or to 

be a one time attempt  at  a permanent  solution.   Different 

facets of the issue with new complexities are bound to recur 

from time to time requiring renewed attempts at resolution. 

It is keeping in mind the above features that the course that 

we  intend  to  charter,  as  laid  out  in  the  paragraphs 

hereinafter, has been visualized and conceptualized.  

18. The total network of roads in India is approximately 47 

lakhs kilometers which is possibly the second largest 

network in the world after  the U.S.A.   While Express 

Highways  count  for  only  200  kilometers  in  length, 

National  Highways  measure  70,934  kilometers;  State 

Highways  1,63,896  kilometers;  other  PWD  Roads 

10,05,327  kilometers  and  rural  and  other  roads 

27,49,805 kilometers.  The statistics mentioned below 

would indicate the relative position with regard to the 

extent  of  road network;  the vehicular  population and 

34

Page 34

the number  of  deaths  that  had occurred in the past 

years in road accidents in India and other countries like 

U.S.A., U.K., China etc.  While the statistics available in 

respect  of  the  USA  may  reflect  a  higher  rate  of 

accidents  though a lower  number  of  deaths (possibly 

due  to  more  advanced  after  trauma  facilities)  the 

figures in respect of the U.K. and China highlights the 

magnitude  of  the  problem  in  so  far  as  India  is 

concerned.   In this regard it  would require a specific 

mention that while the death rate in China, which had 

stood at  par with India at a certain point of time,  has 

shown a significant downward trend in case of India the 

said figures has shown a disturbing increase.  

Country Road

network 

India

Source:

“Accidental 

Deaths  & Suicides

in  India,  2010”,

National  Crime

Records Bureau.

(km)

A - Data on RTAs

Number of

vehicles

Number of

Accidents

Deaths Seri

ous

inju

ries

46,89,842 11,49,53,000 4,30,654 1,26,896 4,66

,600

35

Page 35

2

Year: 2009

USA

Source:

US Census Bureau

Year: 2009

UK

Source:

Department  for

Transport

Year: 2009

China

Source:

“Global Status 

Report on road

safety, 2013”, 

WHO.

Year: 2010

Brazil

Source:

“Global  Status 

Report  on  road

safety,  2013”,

WHO.

Year: 2010

65,86,610 25,41,66,000 1,08,00,000 33,808 22,1

7,00

0

3,94,428 3,42,00,000 1,64,000 2,222 2,20,

000

41,06,387 20,70,61,286 -- 70,134 --

15,80,964 6,48,17,974 -- 37,594 --

B – Data of relative figures in respect of China & India  

Number of Road Accidents

Year China India

2004 5,17,889 4,29,910

 Source: “Statistical Year Book of India – 2014” published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme

Implementation.

2

  

36

Page 36

2005 4,50,254 4,39,255

2006 3,78,781 4,60,920

2007 3,27,209 4,79,216

2008 2,65,204 4,84,704

2009 2,38,351 4,86,384

Number of Persons Killed

Year China India

2004 1,07,077 92,618

2005 98,738 94,968

2006 89,455 1,05,749

2007 81,649 1,14,444

2008 73,484 1,19,860

2009 67,759 1,25,660

19. The facts  mentioned above would leave no room for 

doubt  that  Indian  roads  have  proved  to  be  giant  killers 

demanding immediate attention and remedial  action.  Such 

attention and necessary intervention, in the first instance, is 

required  to  be  made  by  the  concerned  governmental 

agencies.  While there is no reason for any skepticism over 

the abundant concern shown by all concerned to the issues 

highlighted and also the attempted solutions both in the field 

of  law enforcement  as  well  as  amendments  in  the  law, 

besides limited experiments in providing better after trauma 

care, for reasons that need not detain the court, the results 

so far have not been very encouraging.   The accident  and 

37

Page 37

casualty graphs continue to run on an even keel over the last 

several years.

20. An accident  is an incident  that  happens unexpectedly 

and unintentionally.  It is occasioned either by human failure 

or human negligence.   Viewed from the above perspective 

and  also  thorough  hindsight  every  road  accident  is  an 

avoidable happening.   The history of  humankind has been 

one of conquests over the inevitable.  The resignation to fate 

has  never  been  the  accepted  philosophy  of  human  life. 

Challenges  have  to  be  met  to  make  human  life  more 

meaningful.  This is how the constitutional philosophy behind 

Article 21 has been evolved by the Indian courts over a long 

period of  time.   It  is this process of  development  and the 

absence  of  significant  and  meaningful  results  from  the 

governmental action till date that impels us to delve into the 

realms of the issues highlighted by Dr. Rajaseekaran in the 

present writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution.

21. Having considered all  the relevant  facts and also the 

suggestions that  have come from the different  quarters it 

38

Page 38

appears to us that  the four-dimensional  approach that  the 

Government  had  earlier  attempted  by  setting  up  four 

different  working groups to go into the four issues of  road 

safety,  namely,  enforcement,  engineering,  education  and 

emergency care would be the best manner to approach the 

issues arising.   We,  therefore,  intend to adopt the same in 

the exercise proposed to be undertaken.

Enforcement

22. Enforcement of the existing laws, regulations and norms 

having a bearing on road safety can be conveniently sub-

divided into different categories like-

 (i) licensing;

(ii) certification of fitness of vehicles;

(iii) limits of use of vehicles i.e. passenger carrying 

capacity, weight carrying capacity etc.;

(iv) use of road safety devices;

(v) adherence  to norms  including user  of  roads,

and;

39

Page 39

(vi)  deployment  of  adequate  manpower  for

enforcement of the existing provisions of law.

23. The provisions of the law i.e. Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 

governing the aforesaid features of the matter can now be 

taken note of.

A. Licensing  

24. (I) Section 3 of  the Motor Vehicles Act,  1988 states 

that no person shall  drive a motor vehicle in a public place 

without holding a valid driving license. As per the mandate 

of  Section  6,  a  person  cannot  hold  more  than  one  such 

license. Further, Section 4 sets the age limits for driving of 

motor vehicles: 18 years for cars, 16 years for motorcycles, 

and 20 years for transport vehicles. Section 5 prohibits the 

owner  to  permit  any  person  to  drive  the  vehicle  without 

satisfying Sections 3 & 4. If an owner permits any person to 

drive the vehicle without a driving licence, the owner is liable 

for  imprisonment  upto 3 months or  fine upto Rs.  1,000 or 

both, under Section 180.

40

Page 40

(II) Under  Section  19,  the  licensing  authority  may 

disqualify a person from holding a driving license for certain 

reasons,  such as if  the person (i)  is a habitual  criminal  or 

habitual  drunkard,  (ii)  is a habitual  addict  to any narcotic 

drug or  psychotropic substance within the meaning of  the 

NDPS Act, 1985, (iii) is using or has used a motor vehicle in 

the  commission  of  a  cognizable  offence,  (iv)  has  by  his 

previous conduct as driver of a motor vehicle shown that his 

driving is likely to be attended with danger to the public, (v) 

has committed any such act which is likely to cause nuisance 

or danger to the public, etc.

(III) The  Court  may  also  disqualify  a  person  from 

holding  a  driving  license,  apart  from imposing  any  other 

punishment.  In the following cases,  disqualification by the 

Court is mandatory under Section 20(2):

- not stopping the vehicle when required to do so by any

Police  Officer  (not  below  the  rank  of  Police  SubInspector

in

uniform)

if

the

vehicle

is

involved

in

a

road

 

accident

(Section

132)

41

Page 41

- not shifting the victim of the accident in which his or her

vehicle  is  involved  to  the  nearest  hospital/  medical

practitioner (Section 134)

- not  giving,  on  demand  by  a  Police  Officer,  any

information required by him (Section 134)

- not  reporting  the  occurrence  of  accident  to  insurer

(Section 134)

- driving by a drunken person or by a person under the

influence of drugs (Section 185)

- driving dangerously (Section 184)

- racing and trials of speed (Section 189)

- using a vehicle without registration (Section 192)

B. Vehicular Fitness  

25. (I) Under Section 39, a person cannot drive a motor 

vehicle or cause or permit his vehicle to be driven without 

proper registration and display of the registration mark. If a 

vehicle is not in a fit condition to be used on the public road 

or is being used for hire without valid permit, the appropriate 

42

Page 42

authority  under  Section  53  can  suspend  the  registration 

certificate.

(II) Using a vehicle without  registration can result  in 

fine,  the  minimum  amount  of  which  is  Rs.  2,000  and 

maximum is Rs. 5,000, under Section 192. For a subsequent 

offence,  the maximum amount  of  fine may extend to  Rs. 

10,000, subject to a minimum of Rs. 5,000. The punishment 

is not applicable for vehicles used in an emergency for the 

conveyance of persons suffering from sickness or injuries or 

for the transportation of food or material to relieve distress or 

of medical supplies for a like purpose, per sub-Section (2).

(III) A  vehicle  cannot  be  used  on  the  road  without 

proper  insurance certificate,  as  under  Section 146.  The 

owner  is  responsible  for  obtaining  insurance.  Driving  an 

uninsured vehicle can result in punishment in imprisonment 

upto 3 months or fine upto Rs. 1000/- or both, under Section 

196.

43

Page 43

(IV) In cases of vehicles involved in road accidents, 

the driver  or  owner  must  report  such involvement  to  the 

concerned  police  officer.  Failure  to  do  so  would  attract 

punishment  under  Section  187,  viz.  imprisonment  upto  3 

months  or  fine  upto  Rs.  500,  or  both  (in  addition  to  the 

punishment  for  the accident).  For  the subsequent  offence 

under this section, the imprisonment can be upto 6 months 

and fine amount  upto Rs.  1,000.  Moreover,  such a vehicle 

has to be inspected by the authorized officer of the Motor 

Vehicles Department (Section 136).

(V) Chapter  V  of  the  Central  Motor  Vehicles  Rules, 

1989  contains  exhaustive  provisions  on  the  construction, 

maintenance and equipment of motor vehicles, dealing the 

dimensions  of  the  vehicle,  tyres,  brakes,  steering  gears, 

safety glass,  windscreen wipers,  emission standards,  noise 

reduction measures,  and speed governors.  The Rules also 

provide for the installation of devices such as helmets, safety 

belts,  padded  dashboards  etc.  for  the  safety  of  drivers, 

passengers  and  road  users.  Violation  of  the  standards 

44

Page 44

prescribed in relation to road safety, control of noise and air 

pollution is fine amount upto Rs.1,000/- for the first offence 

and Rs.  2,000/-  for  the subsequent  offence,  under  Section 

190 of the MV Act.

C. Use of Roads  

26. (I) The MV Act contains several  provisions regulating 

the use of roads by motor vehicles.

(II) Section 119 mandates  every driver  to  drive the 

vehicle  in  conformity  with  traffic  signs  and  prescribed 

driving  regulations  and  to  comply  with  all  the  directions 

given to him by any Police Officer engaged in the regulation 

of  traffic.  Under  Section  121,  the  driver  must  signal  his 

intention to stop or take a left or right turn.

(III) Leaving a vehicle at rest on any public place in 

such a way as to cause or likely to cause danger, obstruction 

or  undue inconvenience to other  road users is an offence 

under  Section 122.  Such vehicles may be towed away by 

Police and the owner may be charged for towing in addition 

45

Page 45

to the penalty for offence. A vehicle may also be towed away 

by the police (in uniform) if it is left attended in a public place 

for more than 10 hours, or parked at a ‘No Parking Zone’, or 

parked in a manner  that  creates  a traffic hazard (Section 

127).

(IV) Carrying  more  than  one  pillion  rider  on  a  two-

wheeler is an offence under Section 128. Wearing a helmet 

of ISI standard, while riding a motor cycle in a public place, is 

mandatory under Section 129.

(V) Under Section 183,  if a driver of a motor vehicle 

contravenes  the  speed limit,  he/she  shall  be  punishable 

with fine upto Rs. 400/- for the first offence and Rs. 500/- for 

the subsequent offence, and if the owner causes the driver to 

contravene the speed limit, he/she shall be punishable with 

fine upto Rs.  300/-  for  the first  offence and Rs.  500/-  for 

subsequent  offence.  Under  Section 184,  whoever  drives  a 

motor vehicle at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous 

to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the 

case including nature, condition and use of the place where 

46

Page 46

the vehicle is driven and the amount of traffic which actually 

is at the time or which might reasonably be expected to be in 

the  place,  shall  be  punishable  for  the  first  offence  with 

imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or 

with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees. In case 

of repeated offence committed within three years of the first 

offence, he may be punished with imprisonment for a term 

which  may  extend  to  two  years  or  with  fine  which  may 

extend to two thousand rupees or with both. The driver can 

be arrested on the spot.  Taking part  in a  race or  trial  of 

speed  of  any  kind  without  the  Government’s  written 

permission  is  punishable  under  Section  189,  with 

imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or 

with a fine upto Rs 500 or with both.

(VI) Under  Section  185,  punishment  for  drunken 

driving is imprisonment upto 2 years or fine upto Rs. 3,000/- 

or both, and the driver can be arrested on the spot. Further, 

Section 186 makes a person who is mentally or physically 

unfit  to drive,  punishable for the first  offence of  driving in 

47

Page 47

such a situation with fine upto Rs.  200/- and Rs.  500/-  for 

subsequent offence.

(VII) Driving  a  vehicle  exceeding  permissible 

weight can result  in a punishment  of  Rs.  2,000/-  and an 

additional  amount  of  Rs.  1,000/-  per  ton  of  excess  load 

together with the liability to pay charges of off-loading the 

excess load, per Section 194.

(VIII) Using  vehicle  in  contravention  of  permit 

condition can result in fine upto Rs. 5,000/- but not less than 

Rs. 2,000/- for the first offence and imprisonment upto 1 year 

but  not  less than 3 months or  with  fine amount  upto Rs. 

10,000/-  but  not  less  than  Rs.  5,000/-  or  both  for  the 

subsequent offence (Section 192(a)).

27. While  improvements  in  different  spheres  of  law are 

imminent with passage of time, any change of law has to be 

preceded  by  serious  debate  and  consideration  of  a  wide 

variety of  factors all  of  which takes  time.   The legislative 

procedure  is  also  time  consuming.   In  fact  several 

48

Page 48

amendments  in the Motor Vehicles Act as indicated in the 

earlier part of this order are under consideration.  While such 

changes  or  amendments  can  be  brought  in  only  upon 

completion of the necessary exercise, the enforcement of the 

existing laws would stand on an entirely different  footing. 

Strict and faithful enforcement of all existing laws and norms 

must be insisted upon not only as an absolute principle of law 

but  also for  the huge beneficial  effects thereof.   As noted 

earlier, out of the total road network in the country which is 

about  47  lakhs  kilometers  in  length,  national  highways 

account  for  only 70,934 kilometers  only.   It  is over  these 

national  highways  that  the  executive  power  of  the  Union 

extends whereas in respect of the State highways and other 

State  roads the Executive power  of  the State  runs.   That 

apart,  roads,  traffic thereon and vehicles other  than those 

mechanically driven are covered by relevant entries in List II 

of the Seventh Schedule giving jurisdiction to the States both 

in matters  of  legislation and exercise of  executive power. 

None of the States are parties to the present writ petition. 

Though  we  are  inclined  to  accept  that  directions  to  the 

49

Page 49

States to enforce the existing laws can be issued even in 

their  absence,  we cannot  help observing that  the  matter 

cannot be allowed to rest merely by issuance of directions by 

this Court.  Observance and implementation of the directions 

to be issued by this Court in exercise of power under Article 

142 of the Constitution would require a continuing scrutiny 

and we intend to monitor such implementation and to make 

the  States  accountable  for  any  inaction  or  lapse  in  this 

regard.   We,  therefore,  implead  all  the  States  as  party 

respondents and direct the Registry to issue notice to them. 

For the present we direct the Government of each State to 

effectively implement  and enforce all  the provisions of the 

Act in respect of  which the States have the authority and 

obligation to so act under the Constitution in addition to the 

tasks specifically alluded to in the subsequent paragraphs of 

the present order.

Engineering

50

Page 50

28. In  so  far  as  road  engineering  is  concerned,  the 

concerned departments in the Central Government as well as 

the State Governments must make road safety an integral 

part  of  road  design  at  the  planning  stage  and  conduct 

regular  road  safety  audit  of  selected  stretches  of 

expressways,  national  highways,  state  highways and other 

state roads to identify what  can be reasonably termed as 

‘black  spots’  i.e.  problem spots  where a large number  of 

accidents occur.   Regular maintenance of all  highways and 

roads both by the Central  and the State  Governments,  in 

order to make the same traffic worthy, is the minimum that 

the citizens of this country can expect and are entitled to. 

We hardly need to emphasis that it is the duty of the Central  

and the State Governments to ensure the availability of safe 

roads worthy of traffic, though we must hasten to add that 

our  observations  in  this  regard  must  necessarily  be 

understood in the context of the resources available to the 

Central  and the State Governments. We accordingly direct 

the respective Governments to act accordingly.

Education

51

Page 51

29. The importance of education on road safety cannot be 

gainsaid.   Such  consciousness  needs  to  be  developed 

amongst all citizens and should be inculcated from a young 

age.  The importance of informing and educating the citizens 

of the virtues of road safety lies in the fact that, in the last 

resort, it is such realization alone that can lead to better and 

safer use of roads and vehicles.  It is heartening to note that 

serious consideration on this aspect of road safety has been 

expended  by  the  Union  Government  details  of  which 

measure  have  been  noted  earlier.   We  direct  the  Union 

Government  to continue to expend its efforts and all  such 

measures  shall  also  be  implemented  by  the  State 

Governments. 

Emergency

30. In so far as emergency is concerned there is perhaps no 

denial  of  the fact that  many deaths and loss of  limbs and 

serious  disfiguration  of  victims  can  be  saved  by  timely 

medical  attention.   Lack  of  adequate  number  of  good 

52

Page 52

samaritans;  squabbles  between  police  stations  and 

administrative  authorities  over  jurisdiction;  lack  of  quick 

response in removing the victims to hospitals and centres of 

medical  care  due  to  lack  of  necessary  infrastructure  like 

ambulances;  absence  of  adequate  and  well  spread  out 

number of hospitals and medical centres; the poor condition 

and  lack  of  adequate  infrastructure  in  government  run 

hospitals  and  health  centres  and  the  prohibitive  costs  of 

health  care  facilities  in  the  more  advanced  centres  of 

medical care besides insistence of large deposit of money by 

such advanced health care centres in the private sectors are 

some  of  the  problems  that  have  seriously  plagued  post 

trauma/accident  care  in  the  country.   As  already  noted, 

limited attempts have been made on experimental basis and 

that  too  on  national  highways  alone  to  provide  better 

amenities and also to take care of the fund requirements for 

the first  48 hours following the accident.   The experiment 

needs to be extended by the Central  Government  to more 

stretches of the National Highways besides introduction and 

53

Page 53

implementation of such measures by the States in the roads 

under their control and jurisdiction.

31. The  sum total  of  the  discussions  above  is  that  all 

existing laws and norms including the provisions of the Motor 

Vehicles Act, as in force, are required to be implemented in 

the right earnest and with all vigour by the authorities of the 

Union and the State Governments who are responsible for 

such implementation.  In so far as suitable amendments to 

the laws are concerned, this Court can only hope and trust 

that  all  such changes or amendments  which are presently 

under  legislative  consideration  would  be  expedited  and 

measures as may be considered necessary by legislature in 

its collective wisdom will  be brought in the statute book in 

due course.  At the same time, what has been admitted to be 

necessary and, therefore, has been initiated by the Central 

Government in so far as engineering and road education is 

concerned shall  be  implemented  and directions  to so act 

may be construed to have been issued by this Court by the 

present  order.   Similarly,  in  so far  as  emergency  care  is 

54

Page 54

concerned,  what  has  been  initiated  by  the  Central 

Government,  as  stated  in  its  affidavit,  shall  be  suitably 

implemented  and  extended  subject  to  the  limits  of  its 

financial  ability.   The States also shall  act accordingly and 

initiate similar measures if required, in a phased manner.

32. We are aware that the journey that has been undertaken 

would be long and arduous.  It is difficult to visualise when 

the same would end, if at all.  To ensure the success of 

the process undertaken, constant supervision of this Court 

of the measures undertaken by the Central  Government 

and the State Governments and the extent of affirmative 

action on part of the Union and the States will have to be 

measured and monitored by the Court from time to time. 

Keeping in mind that  the time available to this Court is 

limited we deem it proper to constitute a Committee to 

undertake  the  process  of  monitoring  on  behalf  of  the 

Court.  The Committee will have the following composition 

and shall function in the manner indicated below:

Composition of Committee

55

Page 55

Sl.No. Name

1.

Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan

Judge, Supreme Court of India

(Effective from 15

2.

Mr. S. Sundar

th

 May, 2014)

Chairperson

Distinguished Fellow, TERI

Former  Secretary,  Ministry  of  Surface

Transport, Government of India

3.

Dr. (Mrs.) Nishi Mittal

Ex. Chief Scientist, CRRI,

Formerly HoD,  Traffic Engineering and

Safety (TES),

Central Road Research Institute

Member

Member

33. (I) The composition of the above Committee will be

notified  by  the  Ministry  of  Road  Transport  and

Highways, Government of India forthwith.

(II) The  Committee  will  have  its  office  in  the

national capital and requisite infrastructure including

manpower  will  be  provided  by  the  Central

Government.

(III) The  remuneration  and  perquisites  of  the

Chairman of the Committee and its members will be

fixed by the Union Government in consultation with

the  individual  concerned  and  in  accordance  with

prevailing norms.

(IV) All  State  Governments  as  well  as  different

Ministries/Departments/Wings  of  the  Central 

56

Page 56

Government who are currently looking after the

multi-dimensional  issues  pertaining  to  road

safety  will  submit  their  first  report  to  the

Committee  within  three  months  from  today

indicating  the  state  of  implementation  and

enforcement  of  all  laws  pertaining  to  (i)

licensing;  (ii) certification of fitness of vehicles;

(iii)  limits  of  use  of  vehicles  i.e.  passenger

carrying capacity, weight carrying capacity etc.;

(iv) use of road safety devices; (v) adherence to

norms  including  user  of  roads,  and  (vi)

deployment  of  adequate  manpower  for

enforcement of the existing provisions of law.

(V) The  Union  Government  as  well  as  the  State

Government  shall  also indicate  their  views on

the necessity of  further  change in the law,  if

any.

(VI) The  Union  Government  as  well  as  the

Government  of the States shall  also offer their

views  on the suggestions/recommendations  of

the  different  bodies/persons  noticed  and

mentioned  in  the  present  order  which  are

presently not under implementation. 

57

Page 57

(VII) The  Committee  shall  undertake  a  detailed

scrutiny and examination of the Report(s)  that

may be submitted and the views of the Central

and State Governments with regard to necessity

of further legislation or changes in the existing

laws.

(VIII) The  Committee  will  submit  its  report  to  this

Court within three months after receipt of report

from the  Union  and  the  State  Governments

indicating and expressing its views on each of

the  matters  referred  to  in  the  present  order

including the deficiencies  and the defaults  on

the part of any of the stakeholders, as may be

found.

34. The matter be posted for further consideration before 

this Court on the expiry of six months from today along 

with the report (s) as may be submitted pursuant to the 

present order.

58

Page 58

35. A copy of this order be furnished to the petitioner and 

each  of  the  Respondents  as  well  as  to  the  Chief 

Secretaries of all the States/Union Territories.

NEW DELHI,

APRIL 22, 2014.

...…………………………CJI.

[P. SATHASIVAM]

.........………………………J.

[RANJAN GOGOI]

…..........……………………J.

[N.V. RAMANA]

59

Page 59

 

Vineet Kumar
on 23 April 2014
Published in Civil Law
Views : 1688


 Recent Comments

Total: 1







×

  LAWyersclubindia Menu

web analytics