SC: Indian roads are giant killers, immediate remedial action needed
Indian roads have proved to be giant killers demanding immediate remedial action, the Supreme court said.
The apex court appointed a three-member committee, headed by its judge Justice KS Radhakrishnan, to monitor steps taken by the Centre and state governments to ensure road safety and to curb growing number of accidents.
It directed all government departments which are looking after multi-dimensional issues pertaining to road safety to submit their first report to the Committee within three months on implementation and enforcement of laws pertaining to licensing, certification of fitness of vehicles and use of road safety devices and other related issues.
‘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,’ a bench, headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam, said while referring to data of growing road accidents and death caused due to it.
The court, however, clarified the committee, also comprising former secretary of road transport ministry S Sundar and Nishi Mittal, ex-chief scientist, will be functional from 15 May as Justice Radhakrishnan is to retire on 14 May.
‘To ensure the success of the process undertaken, constant supervision of this Court of the measures undertaken by the central government and state governments and the extent of affirmative action on the 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,’ it said.
The apex court noted that road traffic accidents in 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 four 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,’ it said.
The total network of roads in India is approximately 47 lakhs kilometres, which is possibly the second largest network in the world after the USA.
While Express Highways count for only 200 kilometers in length, National Highways measure 70,934 kilometers, state highways 1,63,896 kilometres, other PWD Roads 10,05,327 kilometers and rural and other roads 27,49,805 kilometers,’ it said.
‘We, therefore, implead all the states as party respondents and direct the Registry to issue notice to them.