Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court said transport officials were failing to exercise their powers, which was resulting in motor accidents, and directed the government to issue guidelines to ensure that they cracked down on errant drivers.
The court suggested several guidelines regarding the seizure of vehicles and putting in place a mechanism for online monitoring of offences.
While issuing the directions, Justice P. Naveen Rao said, “unless there is an increase in the percentage of seizure, with a more rigorous test of suitability of the vehicle before releasing it and deterrent punishment imposed on the offending owner and driver, the trend of accidents cannot be reversed and lives of innocents cannot be saved.”
He said, “the right of the individual to operate his motor vehicle as he wishes shall be subservient to larger public interest.”
India ranks first in road accidents
In the larger public interest, it is necessary for expeditious disposal of applications made under Sections 200 and 207 of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, and prosecution of offending vehicle owner and driver.”
There is a lurking danger of an accident whenever overloaded transport vehicles ply on the roads which may result in fatal consequences, the judge said.
The court was concerned over the statistics as India ranks first in the world for road accidents and a major contributor were overloaded vehicles. The number of fatal accidents crossed the one-lakh mark in 2006, and there were 1,47,913 fatal accidents in 2017.
Justice Naveen Rao faulted transport authorities for letting off drivers and vehicle owners easily, and tardy progress in penalising them.
“The owners as well as the drivers are happy to pay a fine and commit the same offences repeatedly. There appears to be reluctance on the part of transport authorities to exercise the powers vested in them and are, in effect, abetting crime by such conduct,” he observed.
While disposing of the batch of petitions by the vehicle owners and drivers against the seizure of the motor transport vehicles on the ground of carrying load in excess of permissible limit and sought release of the vehicles, the judge issued following directions and guidelines to the state....