STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: A Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Sindhu Sharma on Tuesday directed the Transport Commissioner J&K 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 Mughal Road accident in which 11 students including 9 young girls having age between 20 to 25 years lost their lives. Earlier, the DB took serious note of the recent fatal road accidents on Mughal Road and Keshwan area of Kishtwar District due to rash and negligent driving and lack of supervision by the Transport/Motor Vehicles Department/Traffic Police resulting into loss of 48 precious lives. These Court directions were passed in a Public Interest Litigation filed by Intakhab Ahmed Qazi, a practicing lawyer from Poonch seeking directions to the State Government to initiate appropriate action/enquiry against ARTO Poonch, ARTO Shopian, Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Rural Jammu/Kashmir, SHO Police Station Surankote for their negligence and dereliction in duties which led to the tragic road accident on Mughal Road. Looking into the seriousness of the matter, the DB 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 Nafri deployed in erstwhile Doda District and other vulnerable roads of these Districts. The Division Bench further sought reply from the IGP Traffic J&K 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 license of those drivers who repeatedly indulge in rash driving and further the Court 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.
Division Bench also issued notices to the Principal Secretary (Home) J&K, Commissioner/Secretary Transport Department, Commissioner/Secretary Public Works Department, Commissioner/Secretary Health and Medical Education Department, DGP J&K, DCs Poonch, Rajouri and Shopian, IGP (Traffic) J&K, Transport Commissioner J&K, Chief Engineer Mughal Road Project Jammu/Srinagar, Executive Engineer Mughal Road Project Surankote (Poonch), SSP (Traffic) Rural Jammu/Kashmir, RTO Jammu, ARTOs Poonch, Rajouri and Shopian for filing their response to the PIL within a period of three weeks. AAG Raman Sharma accepted notices on behalf of Principal Secretary Home J&K, DGP J&K, IGP (Traffic) J&K whereas Deputy Advocate General Arshad Majid Malik accepted notices on behalf of Commissioner/ Secretary Transport Department, Transport Commissioner J&K, RTO Jammu and ARTOs Poonch, Rajouri and Shopian.
Advocate Ahmed submitted that the Mughal Road from Chatta Pani to Peer Ki Gali is in dilapidated condition. “Besides, the 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 lives”, he said adding that there is no Trauma Centre/Accidental Hospitals on the Mughal Road. He further submitted there are no ambulances on the Mughal Road on the pattern of National Highway.
Advocate Ahmed further submitted that there is a dire need to post honest/upright officials in Traffic Regulatory Departments so that on these vulnerable roads the accidents are checked.
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 Division Bench 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 in the erstwhile Doda District.
The Division Bench looking into the importance of the matter directed the listing of the instant PIL along with PIL No.1/2018 immediately after three weeks.
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