Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Calcutta High Court directs State transport secretary for inspection of vehicles plying on roads

The Calcutta High Court directed  the Secretary, State Transport Authorities, West Bengal to immediately form a team to conduct a thorough check of all the vehicles plying in the area in question, namely vehicles plying through Kolkata Central Business District, Esplanade, Central Bus Terminus, Kolkata and the areas approaching for Howrah Bridge.

The vehicles should be checked for valid permits and if the permit is not available the vehicles should be detained.

The Court oipned that unless strict action is taken by the Transport Department, this illegality cannot be prevented.  

The Division Bench of Chief Justice T. S. Sivagnanam and Justice Supratim Bhattacharya furthr directed that the order to assist the Officers of the Transport Department, Deputy Commissioner of Police-I, Traffic Department, Kolkata shall provide adequate police assistance to the Officers of the Transport Authority to carry out the above exercise.

The above exercise shall be commenced by the Transport Authorities on and from 22nd January, 2024 along with Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Officer-in-Charge of Maidan Police Station , the Bench further directed listing the matter on 29th February, 2024.

The Court heard a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed pointing  out a menace which is happening in Kolkata area namely in the area of Central Business District, Esplanade, Central Bus Terminus, Kolkata and the areas approaching Howrah Bridge where several buses are plying without permit and their operation is wholly illegal.

The petitioner in the  petition had furnished the registration number of certain vehicles and the area in which they have been plying and the name of the company which is plying those buses. Pursuant to the order passed by a report in the form of affidavit was filed on behalf of the State respondents dated 16th May, 2023 along with annexures. 

The  Government Counsel has  drawn the attention to the report given by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Traffic Department, Kolkata to the learned Additional Government Pleader as well as the copies of show cause notices issued by the State Transport Authority to the various permit holders calling upon them to show cause as to why their permit should not be cancelled as per Section 86 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. 

So far as imposition of fine is concerned, it is only a deterrent or a punishment for a singular violation but however, it appears to the Court that the violators have not stopped the violation and the violation still continues and mere imposition of fine will not prevent the illegal operation of those vehicles in the routes in which they are not authorised to ply. Furthermore, it is not clear to the Bench as to what happened after the show cause notice dated 13.03.2023 issued by the State Transport Authority. 

“Thus it appears that the missionary of the Transport Department has not been effected in the matter which has been taken advantage by the persons who ply the buses unauthorisedly in the routes for which they are not authorised to ply”, the Bench noted.

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