Dr. S.Rajaseekaran (II) v. Union of India &Ors, JT 2017 (11) SC 465
Question: Whether there is a need to issue certain guidelines for the enforcement of road safety measure.
Answer: Yes, as such guidelines were issued to tackle the same.
Forum: Supreme Court
Bench: (J) M B Lokur and (J) Deepak Gupta
Facts of the Case
The instant petition was filed under Art. 32 of the Constitution. however, the Supreme Court converted the same into a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) since the Petitioner Dr. S. Rajaseekaran was not having any personal interest in the petition. Dr. S. Rajaseekaran (petitioner) who was the Chairman and Head of Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Ganga Hospital, Coimbatore, had filed the instant petition for seeking the court’s intervention for the implementation of road safety laws, providing proper treatment to the accident victims and taking practical measures to reduce the deaths rate occurring due to road accidents.
Thus on 22nd April, 2014 the Supreme Court had passed an order for the constitution of a Road Safety Committee which was supposed to be headed by Justice K. S. Radhakrishnan. On 10th April, 2015 the Committee submitted its report which suggested that the number of deaths which occurred due to road accidents in India was more than 100,000 in a year, which meant that one death occurred at an interval of every three minutes, and therefore there was an urgent need to follow the guidelines of the committee in order to reduce the number of deaths resulting from road accidents.
However, the Governments of various States were not showing a positive attitude towards the committee’s recommendations and were also not following its recommendations seriously. On 11th April, 2017 the Government of India took positive actions and considered the committee’s recommendations seriously and prepared a Bill for making certain amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Issues of the Case
The primary issue in this Petition before the Hon’ble Supreme Court was as to how to address the issue related to road safety norms and appropriate treatment of victims of a road accident.
Arguments of the Petitioner
The Petitioner argued that:
- There shall be a proper implementation of road safety norms and appropriate treatment of victimsof road accident. He contemplated that 90% of deaths due to road accidents were caused due to improper enforcement of safety rules.
- He further submitted and relied upon a data published by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway in December 2011 which showed that the number of road accidents was increasing every year.
After taking into account several recommendations and reports following directions were issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court for reducing road accidents and enforcement of road safety norms:
- That the State Road Safety Policy shall be implemented by each state.
- Compliance must be done with Sec. 215 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to constitute a State Road Safety Council for each State and Union Territories (except Nagaland) for the implementation of Road Safety Laws.
- To follow the recommendations by the Committee on Road Safety for the establishment of a Lead Agency in each state which shall deal with matters related to registration and licensing of vehicles.
- To set up a Road Safety Fund and a Permanent Road Safety Cell in each State for ensuring road safety.
- To formulate a “Road Safety Action Plan” in each state with an objective to reduce road accidents and fatality rate.
- To constitute a District Road Safety Committee in each state in terms of Sec. 215(3) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 which must be headed by the Collector of the District to reduce road accidents.
- To improve the improper quality of roads and to maintain it by taking appropriate steps for improving the road design to make them safe.
- To adopt Traffic Calming Measures at accident prone areas and other vulnerable spots like schools, hospitals etc.
- To carry out Roads Safety Audits as this may help in reducing the number of road accidents.
- That the State and Union Territories may be directed to implement Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations, 2017 issued by MoRTH vide G.S.R. 634 (E) dared 23rd June, 2017.
- That each state and Union Territories shall ensure whether Road Safety Education and Counselling had been included in the core curriculum of the State Boards.
- That each State Governments shall install cameras and other surveillance equipment’s to check traffic violators.
- Each State Governments shall comply with the directions laid down by this court in (State of Tamil Nadu v. K. Balu, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1487) relating to Alcohol and Road Safety.
- That there shall be at least one Trauma Care Centre to be established in each district with necessary medical facilities in case of emergency. (The directions laid down by this court in Pt. Parmanand Katara v. Union of India, 1989 AIR 2039 shall be followed in this regard).
- That all the public service vehicles shall be fitted with location tracking devices subject to some exceptions.
- That fitment of ABS in motorcycles, of AIS-145 standard Air Bags in four wheelers and “Automated Headlights On” in two wheelers manufactured on or after 1st April, 2017 shall be mandatory.
- That a Crash Test should necessarily be conducted by testing agencies on all light motor vehicles as notified under Rule 126 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989.
Thus the Supreme Court directed that the guidelines which were issued in this case were to be properly followed and these guidelines were in addition to the directions which were already made in S. Rajaseekaran v. Union of India, (2014) 6 SCC 36 i.e., order dated 22nd April, 2014.