SC pulls up Centre for silence on parking hazards on highways

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the Centre and fined it Rs 25,000 for failing to respond to a petition that said haphazard parking along the highways was one of the major causes of fatal accidents.

Pointing out that courts are being criticised for not doing their work, a bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud took the Centre to task for not filing its response in the last three years on a petition filed in 2013 by an NGO called Save Life Foundation.

It was a year ago that the Centre had sought two months’ time to file its reply and even after one year the situation was the same, the bench said when government counsel sought some more time to file the response.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was present in the court room in connection with some other case, intervened and assured the bench that the government’s response would be filed in a week’s time.

The court fixed the next hearing after four weeks.

“Despite the final opportunity granted for the purpose in terms of our order dated 30.10.2015, a counsel appearing for Union of India has not chosen to file any counter affidavit,” the court noted in its order.

Granting four weeks to the Centre, as sought by the Attorney General Rohatgi, to file its response, the bench in its order said that it would be “subject to the condition of payment of Rs 25,000… as cost to be deposited in the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Welfare Trust”.

Non-government Organisation Save Life Foundation had sought change in Motor Vehicles Rules that permitted the pole or rod or indivisible load that protruded one metre beyond the rear most point of the motor vehicle and the regulation of the parking of the heavy vehicles on the highways.

While the government prohibited the loading of materials like rods or iron rods used for construction, it remained unresponsive on the plea seeking regulation of the parking on the highways.

Senior counsel Indu Malhotra appearing for the NGO furnished before the court a report of the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways that points to high number of accidents taking place due to stationary vehicles on the highways.

–IANS

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