Holding that "access to roads" is a Fundamental Right, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has passed a slew of directions to ensure road safety and traffic management in the UT of Chandigarh.
While hearing suo moto proceedings against misuse of cycle-tracks/ pedestrian paths in southern sectors of Chandigarh, the bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Amol Rattan Singh took judicial notice of the conditions of roads in the City as well as of tertiary roads connecting the major roads and ordered re-carpeting within three months, starting from March, 2020.
"There are pot holes in the roads. Every citizen has a fundamental right to use the roads to be maintained by the Municipal body/ Municipal Corporation and State agencies…The Union Territory of Chandigarh is directed to re-carpet all the major roads within a period of three months starting from 1.3.2020. Tertiary roads shall be recarpeted within four months from 1.3.2020," the high court ordered.
The bench has also directed the Chandigarh Administration to:
- install dashboard cameras in all registered ambulances to take action against motorists who do not allow free passage;
- ensure that while there is VVIP movement in the city, ambulances and school buses are given preference and they are not unnecessarily made to wait in the traffic jam;
- provide lighting on all the cycle tracks throughout Chandigarh within six months; and
- install cameras as part of Integrated Control Command Centre to monitor and administer multiple city civic utilities, within four months.
The bench also took judicial notice of the fact that students including toddlers were often ferried across to their schools in overcrowded Three Wheelers/ Auto Rickshaws, putting their lives to risk. Therefore, the court directed the administration to ensure that school buses adhere to safety standards and that they are fitted with seat belts, within six months.
The court further imposed ban on carrying of more than four students in an auto rickshaw to schools. To effectively implement the same, the court has permitted all citizens to take photographs of auto rickshaws violating this order and send it to Registrar General of the high court for appropriate action.
Lastly, the court directed the Senior Superintendent of Police, Security and Traffic, to launch a drive to curb the tendency of the motorists to use mobile phones while driving.
Case Title: Court on its own motion v. Chandigarh Administration & Ors.
Case No.: CWP PIL No. 78/2019 (and connected matters)
Quorum: Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Amol Rattan Singh