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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Road Accidents - PIL - Art.32 of Indian Constitution - Apex court made some directions to follow = S. RAJASEEKARAN ... PETITIONER(S) VERSUS UNION OF INDIA & ORS. ... RESPONDENT (S) = 2014 ( April.Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41438

   Road Accidents - PIL - Art.32 of Indian Constitution - Apex court made some directions to follow  =
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
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. 

2014 ( April.Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41438
P SATHASIVAM, RANJAN GOGOI, N.V. RAMANA   
                     
    REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 295 OF 2012


S. RAJASEEKARAN                          ...    PETITIONER(S)

                                   VERSUS

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



                               J U D G M E N T


RANJAN GOGOI, J.

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
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.    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
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 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.    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.

      (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 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.


      (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
      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.”


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.

      (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  10th
July, 2011 a number of suggestions have been offered for road  safety.   The
most 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;


           .     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;




           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;


           .     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;


            .    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    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  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.

                 (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   third-party
                       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 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.

           (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 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.”

(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 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  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.

(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 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 11th 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 12th  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 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 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  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.

        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
           1/3rd  in  respect  of  fatal  accidents  (reduction  of   1/3rd
           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 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 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 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.
                              A - Data on RTAs

|Country         |Road     |Number of   |Number of |Deaths   |Seri|
|                |network  |vehicles    |Accidents |         |ous |
|                |(km)     |            |          |         |inju|
|                |         |            |          |         |ries|
|India           |46,89,842|11,49,53,000|4,30,654  |1,26,896 |4,66|
|Source:         |         |            |          |         |,600|
|“Accidental     |         |            |          |         |    |
|Deaths &        |         |            |          |         |    |
|Suicides in     |         |            |          |         |    |
|India, 2010”,   |         |            |          |         |    |
|National Crime  |         |            |          |         |    |
|Records Bureau. |         |            |          |         |    |
|Year: 2009      |         |            |          |         |    |
|USA             |65,86,610|25,41,66,000|1,08,00,00|33,808   |22,1|
|Source:         |         |            |0         |         |7,00|
|US Census Bureau|         |            |          |         |0   |
|Year: 2009      |         |            |          |         |    |
|UK              |3,94,428 |3,42,00,000 |1,64,000  |2,222    |2,20|
|Source:         |         |            |          |         |,000|
|Department for  |         |            |          |         |    |
|Transport       |         |            |          |         |    |
|Year: 2009      |         |            |          |         |    |
|China           |41,06,387|20,70,61,286|--        |70,134   |--  |
|Source:         |         |            |          |         |    |
|“Global Status  |         |            |          |         |    |
|Report on road  |         |            |          |         |    |
|safety, 2013”,  |         |            |          |         |    |
|                |         |            |          |         |    |
|WHO.            |         |            |          |         |    |
|Year: 2010      |         |            |          |         |    |
|Brazil          |15,80,964|6,48,17,974 |--        |37,594   |--  |
|Source:         |         |            |          |         |    |
|“Global Status  |         |            |          |         |    |
|Report on road  |         |            |          |         |    |
|safety, 2013”,  |         |            |          |         |    |
|WHO.            |         |            |          |         |    |
|Year: 2010      |         |            |          |         |    |


          B – Data of relative figures in respect of China & India2

                          Number of Road Accidents

|Year                |China                 |India                |
|2004                |5,17,889              |4,29,910             |
|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 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 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;


      (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.

(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 Sub-Inspector in uniform) if the vehicle
      is involved in a road accident (Section 132)

    - 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 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.

(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 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  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 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 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  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 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

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

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 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 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  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

|Sl.No.    |Name                                  |                  |
|1.        |Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan|Chairperson       |
|          |Judge, Supreme Court of India         |                  |
|          |(Effective from 15th May, 2014)       |                  |
|2.        |Mr. S. Sundar                         |Member            |
|          |Distinguished Fellow, TERI            |                  |
|          |Former Secretary, Ministry of Surface |                  |
|          |Transport, Government of India        |                  |
|3.        |Dr. (Mrs.) Nishi Mittal               |Member            |
|          |Ex. Chief Scientist, CRRI,            |                  |
|          |Formerly HoD, Traffic Engineering and |                  |
|          |Safety (TES),                         |                  |
|          |Central Road Research Institute       |                  |


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 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.

      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.



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.


                                       ...…………………………CJI.
                                        [P. SATHASIVAM]



                                        .........………………………J.
                                        [RANJAN GOGOI]



                                                       …..........……………………J.
                                        [N.V. RAMANA]
NEW DELHI,
APRIL 22, 2014.
-----------------------
[1]    (1989) 4 SCC 286
2      Source: “Statistical Year Book of India – 2014” published by the
Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

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