Observing that over-speeding was the main cause for road accidents, the Madras High Court has quashed a notification issued by the Central Government in 2018 which increased the speed limits.
The said notification had increased the speed-limits in expressways to 120 kilomters per hour and to 100 kmph in 4-lane highways for M1 category of vehicles.
A division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran (since retired) and V Thamilselvi, in the order passed on August 18(uploaded later), directed the Central Government to revert to the 2014 notification which prescribed lesser speed limits.
"The Speed limit is directed to be reduced as per the earlier notification dated 05.08.2014," the Court ordered.
Chart showing speed-limits as per 2018 notification
Chart showing speed-limits as per 2014 notification
The bench passed this direction while hearing an appeal seeking enhancement of compensation awarded by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal.
Refusing to accept the stand of the Central Government that the speed limits were increased based on the recommendations of experts, the bench observed, "Having known that over speeding is the main cause for road accidents, taking away the precious lives of people and causing damage to properties, the decision taken by the Fourth Respondent, as reflected in the notification dated 06.04.2018 is liable to be quashed".
The Court said that it was suo motu invoking the powers under Article 227 of the Constitution to pass the orders for quashing the said notification.
"When over speeding is a major cause for road accidents, it is not known as to how the improvement in the road infrastructure and engine technology would reduce accidents. In fact, better engine technology would always be a reason for uncontrolled speed and thereby, cause more number of accidents", the bench observed in the order.
The order extensively referred to statistics to state that over-speeding was the major cause of accidents. The percentage of accidents due to over speeding in the year 2017 – 66.7%, in the year 2018 – 55.73% and in the year 2019 – 64.4%.