'You Don’t Have Spine To Implement Traffic Laws': Gujarat High Court Pulls Up Ahmedabad Traffic Police, Municipal Corporation

Bhavya Singh

26 July 2023 5:44 AM GMT

  • You Don’t Have Spine To Implement Traffic Laws: Gujarat High Court Pulls Up Ahmedabad Traffic Police, Municipal Corporation

    The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday rapped the Ahmedabad traffic police and the municipal corporation for their failure to regulate traffic in the city, observing that they don't have the spine to implement the laws.The division bench of Justices AS Supehia and MR Mengdey made the remark while referring to the accident that took place at the ISKCON bridge on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway on...

    The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday rapped the Ahmedabad traffic police and the municipal corporation for their failure to regulate traffic in the city, observing that they don't have the spine to implement the laws.

    The division bench of Justices AS Supehia and MR Mengdey made the remark while referring to the accident that took place at the ISKCON bridge on the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway on July 20 whereby a car driving at over 140 kmph mowed down nine people and injured 13 others.

    Justice Supehia, addressing the government pleader Manisha Shah representing the Ahmedabad traffic police, remarked orally,

    “Do you know the core issue? The real reason why these things are happening? Why one of these fatal accidents have occurred? Because these perpetrators have no fear of law. They blatantly, with impunity, violate the law - if you see the photographs. You don’t have the spine to implement the traffic laws. Neither you have the will to implement it.”

    The court criticized the government for boasting about the CCTV cameras, and observed that accidents highlight the fact that the CCTV cameras are not working.

    “Look at your own management and compare it with cities like Mumbai, Delhi, where people fear the traffic laws. Here nobody cares, your constables are just mute spectators on the cross roads or wherever they are. We have personally seen and experienced this. They do nothing, just close their eyes. So why should we not frame charges?” the court asked.

    The court said the people violating the law must have some fear that they will be met with some response from the authorities on the ground level. “Why don’t they fear it? On the contrary, we read in media reports when constables tried to implement the law, they are beaten by them. So they don’t have any fear,” the court said.

    When the government pleader added that following the court’s observations on July 19, the State is undertaking a special drive to spot traffic violators, Justice Supehia said

    “You need to first develop a mechanism so that people, before breaching laws, are scared that they will be subjected to some punishment. Develop something which inculcates respect of law, respect for policemen, who are doing their duties.”

    Government pleader Manisha Luvkumar-Shah informed the Court that the State has launched an e-challan system, and everybody is receiving SMSs.

    “It has to be a regular exercise. It has to be a voluntary exercise from your end. E-challans and everything will aid you at crossroads but what about the inroads, wrong side driving?” Justice Supehia asked.

    “I have come across personally that there are spikes which are being affixed to the roads in Noida, Pune, Bangalore for these wrong lanes for those who violate road safety when they arrive from the wrong side. Why don’t you implement it?”

    "If some system is being followed, why don’t you take examples from them? Now the time has come, you have to deal with this strictly. These accidents will keep on happening like this. There is fear of law. Any person/perpetrator before breaking the law must be subconsciously aware that if I do something, I’ll be caught and I will be strictly handled. You wait for an accident to happen, then your conscience says that now it’s time to take action? Regular patrolling on roads is needed. There are some ruffians who are performing stunts on the road, you do nothing,” continued Justice Supehia.

    Observing “the court is fed up now,”, the bench initially said that it would like to frame charges under Contempt of Courts Act against the municipal commissioner and police commissioner in Ahmedabad.

    However, the court in the order said: “In view of the submissions advanced by both the learned Government Pleader and learned advocate Mr. Chhaya, this Court did not frame any charges under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 against the officers and has refrained to do so only on the assurance given by them on their behalf that henceforth the rule of law concerning the traffic and parking will be strictly implemented by them and no leniency shall be shown to the perpetrators committing such violation of law”.

    During the hearing, the Government Pleader and the advocate Mr. Satyam Y Chhaya gave an assurance on behalf of the respondent authorities that the directions issued by the court for regulating the traffic will be appropriately followed and there would be enforcement of the traffic rules and law by the authorities.

    Advocate Amit M Panchal, appearing on behalf of the applicant, invited the court’s attention to a mechanism, which has been adopted in Mumbai and Pune, and urged that if such mechanism is fixed at the spot, where there is menace of wrong side driving, it would control it considerably.

    Both the Government Pleader and advocate Chhaya requested for some time to see that a necessary drive is undertaken by both the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) as well as the Traffic Department to control the menace of illegal parking, wrong lane driving and also removal of illegal parking.

    Justice Supehia questioned, “Do you wait for an accident to happen? You wait for the lives to get lost. License checking etc must happen regularly, not some times only. The parents who have lost their sons, they will not forget for the rest of their lives.”

    “With impunity it is being violated, you don’t do anything. We repeat, you don’t have guts or spine to enforce the law. It is only a temporary phase, after one month again it would again be the same thing.”

    Advocate Chhaya contended that in this country no one can say that everything is good, to which Justice Supehia countered by saying, "We are not living in Utopia. We want that at least there should be some reasonable implementation of law."

    Sharing his personal experience, Justice Supehia said, “Last Saturday I was self-driving my car. A person wearing a helmet came right from the red light, he crossed and came from the wrong side and parked his bike in front of me, there was no space left for turn. I saw the police officers standing there, they didn’t do anything. I took his photo and when I filed a complaint through my PSO, and he said 'rehva do na saab' (let it go, sir).”

    “It is impossible to deploy constables on every road. So the only option is to take help from technology,” the bench said.

    The judges observed: “Even after passage of more than 5 years, the report of the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority reveals that such directions have remained on paper. The authorities of both the AMC as well as the Traffic Department have failed to strictly implement/ enforce the law and to apprehend the perpetrators, who violate the traffic laws with impunity.”

    “It was expected from the highest authorities i.e. both the AMC as well as the Traffic Department to instruct their personnel, who are employed and are deployed at their places, to enforce the traffic laws and to remove the encroachment immediately as and when it is noticed,” the court added.

    In its order, the Court while making a reference to the case of Sharda Sahkari Gruh Mandali Limited and others. vs. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and others, 2006 (2) GLR 1765, observed that a co-ordinate bench had issued various directions for controlling the cattle menace and to ensure smooth movement of traffic at all the important junctions of the city.

    The court also observed that the authorities had also not conducted any periodical survey akin to the survey done by the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority so that such menace could have been addressed in a periodical manner.

    In the last hearing, the court had directed the Gujarat State Legal Service Authority to prepare a report of the S.G.Highway, C.G.Road, Judges Bungalow Road, the Road from Naranpura Cross Roads to Gujarat High Court Complex via Ankur, Shastrinagar, Ghatlodia. The court had further directed the GSLSA to identify bottlenecks in these roads, more particularly eateries or restaurants and shopping centers abuting the roads.

    Pursuant to the same, the GSLSA filed its report containing the photographs of the roads as suggested by the court, which indubitably revealed that there was blatant disregard to the directions issued by the Court in various orders including the directions issued in the judgment and order dated 11.05.2018 passed in Writ Petition (PIL) No.170 of 2017.

    The report further revealed that there was illegal parking, encroachment by eateries, restaurants and shopping complexes. Moreover, chaos was observed at cross roads, there was non-observance of traffic rules, particularly wrong wide driving, etc.

    The team also found that at many places the vehicles were parked illegally and in haphazard manner causing disruption to movement of traffic and no mechanism was found to restrain the wrong side driving. The report further indicated that at many places, street food stalls, tea-stalls, pan parlor have created encroachment at cross roads, as a result of which, of the roads, which can be used for traffic movement has been narrowed.

    The court will hear the matter again on August 09.

    Case Title: Mustak Hussain Mehndi Hussain Kadri vs Jagadip Narayan Singh, IAS

    R/Misc. Civil Application No. 979 Of 2019 In R/Writ Petition (Pil) No. 170 Of 2017


    Mr Amit M Panchal(528) For The Applicant(S) No. 1

    Ms Ml Shah, Government Pleader For The Opponent(S) No. 1

    Mr Satyam Y Chhaya(3242) For The Opponent(S) No. 2

    Click Here To Read/Download Order

    Next Story