Right for a safe road to every citizen is a facet of the fundamental rights of free movement and the right to life under the Constitution: High Court Of Kerala

Right For A Safe Road To Every Citizen Is A Facet Of Articles 19(1)(d) And 21 of the Constitution: This was said in the case of CA Xavier v. Chief Secretary and Ors [WRIT PETN NO.9670 of 2018] by the Chief Justice Mr. S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly in Kerala High Court.

Public Interest Litigations were filed by former panchayat president, lawyer, a man who lost his son to a motor accident, an NGO, a politician, and two retired Motor Vehicles Department officials on account of non-implementation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 2007 and seeking other consequential reliefs. It sought for directions from the State and Central Governments to take steps to stem the rise in road accidents in the State.

The petitioners gave their submissions through various documents showing non-implementation of provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988, Road Safety Act 2007, failure to utilize the funds specifically allotted for road safety. As a response to this, the State Government and other respondents filed a counter-affidavit.

The Court after examining the material produced by the State Government found that “the counter affidavit filed by the State Government, the State Government has virtually admitted that Sri. P.D Sunil Babu was appointed by the Government to prepare a detailed project report to reduce the accidents in Kerala. However, even though the Road Safety Authority considered the report and forwarded the proposal contained there under to the Government through the Motor Vehicle Department, so far, the same is not finalized by the State Government.”

From the provisions of the Report, the Court instructed the State to implement the same, in its letter and spirit, in the larger interest of the public, without any further delay by providing adequate and due support to the authority under the Road Safety Act, 2007.

Additionally, the Court exhorted the Road Safety Authority to achieve its roles in the manner envisaged in the Road Safety Act. It also pressed the Road Safety Authority to ensure it was receiving funds from the State’s consolidated fund.

Furthermore, the court stated that “Before parting with the judgment, we think it deems and appropriate to state that if the objectives of the Road Safety Act, 2007 are to be achieved and attained, the functionaries under the Road Safety Act, 2007, other road safety authorities and others functioning under other enactments and the Central and State Governments shall function like a well oiled machine. The observations and the directions are made by us also bearing in mind that the right for a safe road to every citizen is a facet of Articles 19 (1) (d) and 21 of the Constitution of India and thus all authorities are duty bound to discharge them without fail. We hope that such authorities and the Governments would rise to the occasion and do the needful in the larger interest of the public and remove all obstacles causing threat and danger to the road safety at the earliest possible time and as specified above.” Hence, the writ petition was allowed.

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