“Do not treat SC like a panchayat” : CJI’s stern warning to Centre

“Do not treat SC like a panchayat” : CJI’s stern warning to Centre

Chief Justice T S Thakur-led bench of the Supreme Court today slammed the Centre for not filing "even after three years" its counter affidavit on a PIL which sought framing of guidelines for vehicles carrying iron rods and protruding objects and those standing stationary on the middle of the road causing several fatalities every year.

The PIL had been filed by NGO Save Life Foundation.

When a junior lawyer for Centre sought a three weeks time to file counter, CJI Thakur shot back saying three years ago we gave you four weeks time and even now you are asking time.

“Due to your indifference, thousands of peopld are losing their lives. How can you ask for more time. Is this a panchayat going on here ?”

The bench was about to impose a cost of Rs 50,000 on the Centre when Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi came rushing in and sought a last chance to file a counter within two weeks.

When the junior lawyer had objected to the cost, CJI Thakur said:  “you will not learn a lesson unless heavy cost is imposed. You are the biggest litigant. When we try to do something you do not cooperate and then you say courts have not done anything”, Chief Justice then told Rohatgi.

The NGO contended large number of accidents and fatalities were caused by “vehicles that are stationary, or stalled on streets, highways and expressways; and vehicles transporting [protruding] iron rods, angles, pipes, poles and other construction materials.

”For instance, when a truck carrying iron rods braked suddenly, the vehicle behind would be caught unawares, almost always resulting in a fatal accident to its occupants. “This problem gets aggravated further when the truck is left irresponsibly stalled on the road.” In the absence of legislation to regulate transportation of construction materials and curtail the dangers posed by stalled /stationary heavy vehicles, this court may frame guidelines under Article 142 of the Constitution mandating that transportation of iron/steel bars, construction rods, etc, is permissible only in covered trailers, the petitioner said.

Judges Appointment

In another Case, Chief Justice Thankur has criticized the government for "sitting over" appointments of Judges.Chief Justice told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that 75 names had been recommended for appointment of High Court Judges. The Court has also warned the Centre that "Don't force us to pass orders to remove this logjam."

"You can't leave a situation where courts are allowed to be shut down.  Accessibility to courts can't be allowed to a grinding halt. Tell us where the files are. There has to be some accountability. If you have any problems with the names, send it back.  Collegium can consider. You can't sit over files and not process the recommendations,"., he added