14 Oct 2022 3:26 PM GMT
The Kerala High Court Friday directed the Transport Commissioner and State Police Chief to take the necessary steps to ensure that no KSRTC bus exhibiting advertisements on the body are allowed to operate in public places.The division bench comprising Justice Anil K Narendran and Justice P G Ajithkumar, in a previous case, had ordered that transport vehicles owned or operated by KSRTC and...
The Kerala High Court Friday directed the Transport Commissioner and State Police Chief to take the necessary steps to ensure that no KSRTC bus exhibiting advertisements on the body are allowed to operate in public places.
The division bench comprising Justice Anil K Narendran and Justice P G Ajithkumar, in a previous case, had ordered that transport vehicles owned or operated by KSRTC and KURTC shall not be permitted to exhibit any advertisements since they are likely to distract the attention of other drivers.
Noting that even after the order was passed, KSRTC buses continue to paste advertisements on the body, the Court directed the Transport Commissioner and State Police Chief to take the necessary steps to ensure that no such vehicles are allowed in public places by KSRTC or KURTC.
The Court gave the direction in the Suo Motu proceeding initiated by it in the wake of Vadakkanchery bus accident in which a contract carriage carrying students, who were on a study tour, met with an accident and hit the rear of a KSRTC bus. Nine people, including five students and one teacher, were killed in the accident.
The Court had previously, in the case of Saji K.M. v. Deputy Transport Commissioner ruled that:
Earning of additional income by KSRTC or KURTC by the display of advertisements on their transport vehicles, under Rule 191 of the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules, should not be at the cost of public safety.
Referring to a photograph of a KSRTC bus with advertisements pasted on either side of the bus, which was shown in the open Court, the Division Bench said that in the order passed on 10th October 2022, it was made clear that the provisions under Motor Vehicles Act, the Rules and Regulations made thereunder, and also the safety standards and other norms have application in respect of all vehicles irrespective of whether it is a transport vehicle or private vehicle or government vehicles or even a vehicle carrying constitutional dignitaries.
The Court further reiterated that necessary steps to ensure that videos promoting rash use of motor vehicles are not being uploaded on 'YouTube' and other online platforms and that the head of the educational institution would be held liable if any tourist bus, which does not meet the safety standards and standards prescribed in relation to control of noise, is used in any public place for carrying students from that educational institution.
The Court further observed that as per the law laid down by the High Court in a previous decision, graphics, stickers, and other multi-colour bus bodies are legally impermissible, and a vehicle which carries a bus body painted in such a fashion cannot be permitted to be plied in a public place. The use of such vehicles in public places poses a threat to the safety of not only the passengers of those vehicles but also other road users, said the court.
It further observed that the directions issued by the Court dated 10th January 2022 and reiterated on 10th October 2022 must be followed in letter and spirit by all concerned.
Any contract carriage, stage carriage or transport vehicle brought for inspection has to be tested strictly in terms of the provisions contained in Rule 62 of Central Motor Vehicles Rules and unless and until the bus body, driver cabin and also passenger compartment of that vehicle meets the statutory requirement, a vehicle cannot be granted a fitness certificate, it said
"Furthermore, the testing of the vehicle has to be video graphed, and the photographs of the passenger compartment, driver cabin and bus body shall form a part of the files relating to the proceeding," said the court.
After obtaining a fitness certificate, if any alterations are made in violation of the safety standards and other norms, then the owner of the vehicle shall be held liable, observed the Court.
The matter has been posted for further consideration on 20th October.
Case Title: Suo Motu v. State of Kerala & Ors.
Click Here To Read/Download The Order