Kerala HC calls for strict action against contract carriages flouting safety norms, 06/10/2022

  • 06/10/2022

Order of the High Court of Kerala in the matter of Suo Motu Vs State of Kerala & Others dated 06/10/2022.

The matter related to involvement of contract carriages in major accidents in Kerala and the passengers in those vehicles and other road users sustained serious injuries. Since the use of such vehicles on public place is posing potential threat to the safety of the passengers and other road users, the Assistant Solicitor General of India was asked to address arguments on behalf of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

The HC was also shown a few video clippings of motor accidents involving contract carriages and use of contract carriages fitted with unauthorised LED/laser/neon lights in public places, downloaded from YouTube.

Justices Anil K Narendran and P G Ajithkumar of the Kerala High Court said that despite the court's order, January 10, 2022, the enforcement officers under the Transport Commissioner and the Police officers under the state Police Chief are not taking earnest efforts to ensure strict enforcement of the provisions under the Motor Vehicles Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder.

The senior government pleader sought time to get instructions from the state Police Chief and the special government pleader seeks time to get instructions from Transport Commissioner on the accident that occurred on Anchumoorthy Mangalam in Thrissur district involving a contract carriage carrying students from Mar Baselios School, Mulanthuruthy.

The  Deputy Solicitor General of India sought further time to get instructions from the Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways as to the action that can be taken against the vloggers and others, who are uploading videos in ‘YouTube’ and other online platforms, promoting the use of motor vehicles on public place, flouting the safety standards, posing potential threat to the safety of passengers and other road users.

The Kerala High Court directed the Transport Commissioner to take colour photographs and video clippings of the exterior body, driver cabin and passenger cabin of the contract carriage and also the KSRTC bus involved in the accident, which shall be made available for the perusal of the court on October 10, 2022 along with the accident report of both the vehicles.

Transport Commissioner, through the Enforcement Officers in the Motor Vehicles Department and the State Police Chief, through the District Police Chief of the concerned Districts, shall prohibit the use of contract carriages and other transport vehicles on public place, flouting the safety standards, "in strict compliance of the directions" the High Court order dated May 26, 2022.  

The driving licence held by the driver of such vehicle shall be forwarded to the licensing authority for disqualification or revocation proceedings. The certificate of fitness granted to such a transport vehicle would also be cancelled by the prescribed authority.

The Transport Commissioner, through the concerned enforcement officers in the Motor Vehicles Department has been asked to initiate proceedings against the contract carriages - the images of which was produced before the court. The Transport Commissioner was also asked to obtain the details of the vlogger who posted such promotion videos and posts in YouTube and other online platforms.