- The reference case is C.A Xavier v/s. Chief Secretary & Others [W.P.(C) No. 9670/2018]
- A writ petition was filed before a 2 judge bench of Kerala High Court comprising of Chief Justice of Kerala High Court Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly.
- While addressing the PIL the court stated that the right to a safe road is a facet of Article 21 and 19(1)(d) of fundamental rights under the constitution of India.
- The petition was filed by a lawyer and a former Panchayat president who lost his son in a road accident.
- In his petition he stated that earlier an NGO, 2 ex-officials of the Motor Vehicles Department and even a politician had pleaded for the implementation of the MV Act, 1988 and the Kerala Road Safety Act, 2007.
- The petitioner also informed the court through its petition that a detailed report was once filed by a traffic expert named PS Sunil Babu was appointed by the State Government to make a report on how to curb the growing motor vehicles accident.
- The report was even submitted to the State Government to take the necessary steps to stop this menace. However, even after the proposal was sent to the State Government for consideration, the State Government never finalised nor thought about the implementation of the same.
COURT OBSERVTIONS & VERDICT
- The court observed that even though various enactments provide sufficient measures to curb the problem of road accidents but both the Central and the State Government are so slow that they haven’t implemented any enactments yet.
- There is an increasing amount of deaths day by day due to fatal injuries resulting from road accidents which are quite startling.
The court issued detailed directions in its judgement before the closure of all the PILs filed about motor vehicles and road accidents. The directions issued were as follows:
- The court directed the concerned state authorities to implement the provisions of the MV Act and the Road Safety Act by installing such technological and electronic devices as it is the need of the hour.
- Adequate steps have to be taken by the Road Safety (RS) Authority and other authorities comprised under the Road Safety Act to prevent road accidents.
- The RS Authority should take up enquiries to remove installations that can prove dangerous for example trees that are overhanging or are tilted that may fall and are likely to cause road accidents should be removed from such public or private properties within 3 months from the date of this judgement.
- Urgent measures have to be taken to remove debris, unused concrete, waste material, abandoned motor vehicles on the sides of the road or footpaths within 3 months from the date of receipt of this judgement.
- Such lands and properties have to be identified which are to be vacated by the local bodies or private parties and give them adequate compensation or provide them with alternative land. But the lands need to be recovered after giving them due notice and should be done within 1 month.
- The state and the central government should assist the RS authority for its proper functioning and recovery of land. It also stressed that the RS Authority should ensure that it receives funds from the State's consolidated funds.
- Both the governments should coordinate with the authorities to regulate the road works conducted by various departments as this would save money of the public and eliminate frequent digging of roads.
- RS authority should take measures to ensure that no one violates the rules, norms, notifications of the Road Safety Act and also take measures to look at whether the local bodies are carrying out their functions.
- RS authority should also take steps to ensure that the road accident victims should be adequately compensated financially and also provide the required assistance at the time of accident especially the weaker sections of the crowd.
- Lastly, it stated in its judgement that the report submitted by the traffic expert should be taken into consideration by the State and should also be implemented in actual spirit.
What do you think will the respective authorities would now take serious actions to curb road accidents or will it turn a deaf ear? Comment below.