Safe roads fundamental right: HC

Safe roads fundamental right: HC

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 17

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today made it clear that good and safe roads were a fundamental right of every citizen, while issuing a slew of directions to the Chandigarh Administration on road safety and traffic regulation.

Dashboard cameras for ambulances 

  • The High Court Bench also directed the installation of dashboard cameras in all registered ambulances so as to catch in the camera vehicles obstructing their way. The direction came on a suggestion given by the Chandigarh Police.

For steering clear of mishaps and turning the roads safer, a Division Bench of the High Court ordered mandatory seat belts for all students travelling by school buses, limiting the number of students to four in autos and dashboard cameras for all registered ambulances.

The Bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Amol Rattan Singh also gave the right to way to ambulances and school buses even during the VVIP movement and directed the illumination of cycle tracks and pedestrian paths.

Providing a major relief to citizens suffering from bumpy roads full of potholes and gravel, the Bench, in its landmark order, made it clear that reasonably good pedestrian paths and roads were a fundamental right of every citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution, indicating that it was the statutory and constitutional duty of the authorities to maintain roads and footpaths.

In its detailed order, the Bench directed that re-carpeting of major and tertiary roads would be carried out after the winter season. The pedestrian paths, too, would be repaired. Making Bharat Electronics Limited a party to the ongoing litigation, the Bench called for completion of CCTV camera installation work in three months.

Driving at the safety of school students, Justice Rajiv Sharma, on behalf of the Bench, directed the convening of a meeting between the Secretary, Education, the heads of educational institutions and other stakeholders. Justice Sharma added that each seat in a school bus was required to be provided with a belt. For the purpose, Justice Sharma set a six-month deadline.

Putting an end to the practice of packing students like sardines in a can, Justice Sharma added that auto-rickshaws ferrying school students would not be permitted to carry more than four.

The Bench also directed the installation of dash-cams in all registered ambulances so as to catch in the camera vehicles obstructing their way. The direction came on a suggestion by the Chandigarh Police.

The Bench has already directed the Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic and Security) to strictly enforce Section 194-E of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, within the territorial jurisdiction of the Union Territory, Chandigarh. The provision deals with failure to provide way to emergency vehicles.

The Bench also directed strict compliance with the directions on the use of mobile camera while driving, while asking the traffic police in Chandigarh to launch special campaigns to curb the menace. The authorities were also given time till January 21 to place before the Bench the draft parking policy for Chandigarh. Before parting with the orders, the Bench directed the states of Punjab and Haryana to place before it within 15 days traffic plans for both Panchkula and Mohali.

The Bench, on the previous date of hearing, had also directed the Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic and Security) to prevent plying of auto-rickshaws in Chandigarh without meters, besides directing the Administration to repair pedestrian paths and cycle tracks.


Bench sets Six-month deadline for seat belts in school buses

Driving at the safety of school students, Justice Rajiv Sharma, on behalf of the Bench, directed the convening of a meeting between the Secretary, Education, the heads of educational institutions and other stakeholders. Justice Sharma added that each seat in a school bus was required to be provided with a belt. For the purpose, Justice Sharma set a six-month deadline. Putting an end to the practice of packing students like sardines in a can, Justice Sharma added that auto-rickshaws ferrying school students would not be permitted to carry more than four kids.

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