DB issues notices to several Admn Secys, IGP Traffic, Transport Comm, others

PIL highlighting ‘dance of death’ on roads in hilly areas
Seeks report of enquiry into 11 deaths on Mughal Road
Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, July 16: Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Sindhu Sharma today took serious note of the recent fatal road accidents on Mughal Road and in Keshwan area of Kishtwar district due to rash and negligent driving and lack of supervision by the Transport Department and Traffic Police. The DB also issued several directions to the State Government and framed important questions to be answered within a period of three weeks.
These directions were passed in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Intakhab Ahmed Qazi, a practicing lawyer from Poonch seeking directions to the State Government to initiate appropriate action against ARTO Poonch, ARTO Shopian, Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Rural Jammu/Kashmir and SHO Police Station Surankote for their negligence and dereliction in duties which led to tragic road accident on June 27, 2019 at Aliyabad Sarai on Mughal Road in which 11 students including nine young girls lost their lives.
After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the petitioner, the Division Bench headed by Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, in the open court, issued directions to the Transport Commissioner to place before the court the result of the enquiry entrusted to the Regional Transport Officer Jammu with regard to the expiry of the route permit of the Tempo Traveller, issuance of permit and the fitness certificate besides the reasons which led to the road accident on Mughal Road.
While expressing its deep concern over the ‘dance of death’ on the roads in the hilly areas, the Division Bench looking into the seriousness of the matter framed several questions to be answered by the State respondents including the total number of traffic personnel deployed for regulating traffic in the twin districts of Rajouri-Poonch including Mughal Road and also the deployment in erstwhile Doda district.
The Division Bench further sought reply from the IGP Traffic about the lack of supervision or the action, if any, initiated against the officials/officers who were duty bound to check overloading of the offending vehicle which met with fatal accident on Mughal Road on June, 27, 2019.
The Division Bench further framed the questions with regard to the suspension/ cancellation of the driving licenses of those drivers who repeatedly indulge in rash driving and also sought response with regard to the banning of the commercial/passenger vehicles having more than 15 years life on the pattern of NCR Delhi.
The Division Bench also issued notices to the Principal Secretary (Home), Commissioner/ Secretary Transport Department, Commissioner/ Secretary Public Works Department, Commissioner/ Secretary Health and Medical Education Department, Director General of Police, Deputy Commissioners of Poonch, Rajouri, Shopian, Inspector General of Police (Traffic), Transport Commissioner, Chief Engineer Mughal Road Project Jammu/ Srinagar, Executive Engineer Mughal Road Project Surankote, Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Rural Jammu/ Kashmir, RTO Jammu, ARTOs of Poonch, Rajouri and Shopian for filing their response to the PIL within a period of three weeks.
AAG Raman Sharma accepted notices in the open court on behalf of Principal Secretary Home, Director General of Police, Inspector General of Police (Traffic) whereas Deputy Advocate General Arshad Majid Malik accepted notices on behalf of Commissioner/ Secretary Transport Department, Transport Commissioner, RTO Jammu, ARTOs of Poonch, Rajouri and Shopian.
Both the State Counsel assured the Division Bench that the replies shall be filed within the stipulated period looking into the seriousness of the matter.
Earlier, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the petitioner submitted that the Mughal Road from Chatta Pani to Peer Ki Gali is in dilapidated condition and there is no blacktopping on this stretch. “Chief Engineer Mughal Road Project has miserably failed to ensure the construction of road culverts/protection walls/road side barriers which is resulting in the road traffic accidents and the innocent people are losing their precious lives”, he added.
Advocate Ahmed further submitted that there is no Trauma Centre/Accidental Hospital on either side of the Mughal Road and the accidental victims have been left to the mercy of the God. He further submitted there are no ambulances on the Mughal Road on the pattern of National Highway.
“One of the major cause of the road accidents in the twin border districts of Rajouri-Poonch including Mughal Road and erstwhile Doda district is the plying of unfit commercial/passenger vehicles and the Transport/ Motor Vehicles Department/Traffic Police are hand in glove with the owners/drivers of these unfit vehicles and there is a dire need to post honest/upright officials in these Traffic Regulatory Departments so that on these vulnerable roads the accidents are checked”, Advocate Ahmed further submitted.
Division Bench looking into the importance of the matter also impleaded National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) as well as Border Roads Organization (BRO) as party respondents in the PIL. The DB also clubbed the instant PIL with PIL No.1/2018 filed by Advocate Syed Asim Hashmi on behalf of Bar Association Doda wherein the Doda Bar has highlighted the road accidents.
The Division Bench looking into the importance of the matter directed for the listing of the instant PIL along with PIL No.1/2018 immediately after three weeks.