The Delhi High Court on Wednesday called for a status report from the AAP government after a medical practitioner moved a PIL highlighting the huge gap in the existing and the sanctioned strength of officers in the enforcement cadre of the transport department in the Delhi government, which in effect is increasing the risk to lives of people on Delhi roads.
The court has asked the Delhi government to file a status report on the PIL moved by Deepak Juneja, a medico through advocates Ayush Arora, Paras Nath Singh and Rana Prashant, wherein they have also sought an increase in the sanctioned strength of enforcement cadre of transport department in proportion to the increase in vehicular population.
The enforcement cadre of the transport department comprises six ranks of officers namely (in the order of superior to junior rank): Enforcement Officer, Inspector, Sub-Inspector, Assistant Sub-Inspector, Head Constable and Constable.
The enforcement cadre is empowered to prosecute vehicles violating the provisions of the Central Motor Vehicles Act (CMVA), Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) and the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules (DMVR).
The petitioner told the court that information obtained through multiple Right to Information applications revealed that the present strength of the Enforcement cadre is 186 personnel in all ranks combined, as against the combined sanctioned strength of 815.
“Thus 619 positions or 77% of the combined sanctioned strength are currently vacant and the above situation has been lingering since at least 2008 or 9 years, for which the information is available,” the petition said.
“The issue is of public importance since the ratio of number of sanctioned law enforcement officers to number of vehicles is extremely low as it is and such large and long pending vacancies further lower the ratio and helps to create and aggravate an atmosphere of indiscipline and lawlessness on the roads by errant drivers and is also responsible for extremely high vehicular-borne pollution,” said the PIL, while stressing that adequate manpower is necessary to tackle all violations on roads and highways, and to also nab polluting vehicles.
The PIL prayed that records be called from the Transport Department, GNCTD pertaining to the recruitment of Enforcement cadre of the Transport department and it be directed to fill the vacancies on urgent basis within a fixed time limit.
It also called for a direction to the government to increase the sanctioned strength of its Enforcement cadre in proportion with the increase in vehicular population.