11 Oct 2022 4:27 PM GMT
The Kerala High Court held 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."In case any contract carriage, which does not meet the safety standards and the standards...
The Kerala High Court held 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.
"In case any contract carriage, which does not meet the safety standards and the standards prescribed in relation to control of noise is used in any public place for carrying students from any educational institutions, the head of that educational institution and also the teacher or teachers, who are in charge of that trip, who are least bothered about the safety of the students, shall also be proceeded against, in accordance with law," said the court.
The division bench comprising Justice Anil K Narendran and Justice P G Ajithkumar also said the entry of any contract carriage or other motor vehicles violating the safety standards or noise control norms or those with unauthorised alterations shall not be permitted in the premises of any educational institution in the State for any purpose including exhibition or auto show.
"Any such activity shall be prevented by the head of that educational institution, which shall also be reported to the concerned Station House Officer and also the Enforcement Officer in the Motor Vehicles Department, so as to enable them to proceed against the owner and driver of such vehicles," said the court.
In a pending matter related to the road safety, the court last week took Suo Motu note of the Wadakkanchery 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.
After pursuing the accident investigation report of the case, the court said the contract carriage vehicle carrying the students was fitted with unauthorised lights, speakers and window curtains.
"The driver cabin was fitted with continuously blinking DJ rotating LED lights, multi-coloured LED/laser/neon lights in the passenger compartment, converting the passenger compartment into a dancing floor, causing distraction to the driver of that vehicle and also to other road users," noted the bench.
The court has further directed the Enforcement Officers of Motor Vehicles Department and the State Police to take strict action against the contract carriers which violate the laws and prescribed norms.
Suspend fitness certificate of such vehicles, mere removal of unauthorised fittings not enough; driivng license also to be suspended
When the matter was taken up on Monday, the Court, after considering the materials on record and the submissions made by the Deputy Solicitor General of India, Special Government Pleader and Senior Government Pleader said:
"...we find that a total prohibition on the use of contract carriages violating the safety standards prescribed in AIS-008/AIS- 052(Rev.1) 2008 and also the standards prescribed in relation to control of noise, is highly essential since plying of such vehicles on public place is posing threat to the safety of the passengers in those vehicles, and also other road users."
However, the court added that the procedure of permitting use of such vehicles after interception, with a direction to produce the vehicle for inspection within one week after removing such unauthorised fittings, cannot be permitted to continue as the same is flagrant violation of the statutory provisions.
"A mere removal of unauthorised fittings in a contract carriage, without completely removing the additional wiring and other alterations made in the bus body, passenger compartment and driver cabin cannot make that vehicle as one, which complies with the provisions under the Motor Vehicles Act and the Rules and Regulations made thereunder for the purpose of grant of Certificate of Fitness," said the court.
The Court also said the bus body, passenger compartment and driver cabin of a contract carriage have to be maintained as per the statutory requirements in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules and Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules.
The Fitness Certificate of contract carriages has to be suspended with immediate effect for a period of three months if the contract carriage is found to be flouting the statutory requirements under the Motor Vehicles Rules, said the court, adding that the owner of the vehicle can be directed to make the changes as per the requirements of the law within that period.
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The Court also said the driving licence of drivers who drive such contract carriage in public places has to be suspended for a period of three months for a period of three months.
The Court has also said that stringent action ought to be taken against owners and drivers of contract carriages or other transport vehicles used in public places after tampering with speed governors.
It has further directed the Enforcement Officers in the Motor Vehicles Department and State Police to conduct periodic inspections during the daytime and night hours to ensure that no contract carriages or other transport vehicles are used in public places flouting the safety standards and the standards prescribed in relation to control of noise.
Further, the Court has ordered that any contract carriage or other transport vehicles used in public places flouting the safety standards should be dealt with appropriately by initiating a prosecution, and such vehicles should be produced before the Jurisdictional Magistrate Court colour photographs and video of the bus body, passenger compartment, driver cabin and also luggage compartment
The Court also has directed the Transport Commissioner and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to take necessary steps to ensure that videos promoting rash use of motor vehicles are not being uploaded in 'YouTube' and other online platforms.
Last Week, a Single Judge Bench consisting of Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that recklessness on the wheel will not be tolerated and directed the Transport Commissioner to ensure strict enforcement of law on the roads to send a stern message to all the drivers that they will be held accountable for their actions.
The matter has been posted for 14th October for further consideration.
Case Title: Suo Motu v. State of Kerala & Ors.
Click Here to Read/Download The Order