Gauhati High Court dismisses PIL seeking construction of Maligaon Flyover after adopting necessary safety measures for commuters

The Gauhati High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking direction to carry out the construction of the Maligaon Flyover after adopting the necessary safety measures for protection of the commuters whose lives are at stake due to the alleged careless attitude of the authorities while enhancing the pace of ongoing construction of the flyover.

The State of Assam represented by the Commissioner & Special Secretary to the Government of Assam, Department of Public Works (Roads) and the Public Works (Roads) Department are amongst the respondents impleaded in the petition.   

The Division Bench of Chief Justice  Sandeep Mehta and Justice Susmita Phukan Khound , while considering the PIL noted that law is well settled by a catena of judgments rendered by the Supreme Court that public interest litigation  petitions should be filed with utmost caution after extensive research on the subject matter. Convincing material has to be placed on record before the challenge projected to be in the interest of public can be entertained in exercise of the high prerogative  jurisdiction.

However, in the case at hand, the counsel for the petitioners was unable to point out that any research was made by the petitioners so as to fortify the assertions made in the petition regarding alleged lack of care in the construction of the flyover in question. Vague and unsubstantiated allegations are levelled in the petition which is basically founded on the photostat copies of some newspaper reports and a tweet made by a person, namely, somanigaurav, the Bench further noted.  

"Evidently thus, the petitioners have filed this instant writ petition in a reckless casual manner without taking due care to collect proper material so as to justify invocation of the extra-ordinary writ jurisdiction of this Court. "

The Bench found that no material on record of the case which can be considered sufficient to accept the averments made in this petition regarding the alleged negligence in the construction of the flyover in question and the so called accidents which happened due to the lack of appropriate safety measures. The petitioners did not even approach the authorities concerned before rushing to this Court for filing this writ petition branding it to be a PIL at the eleventh hour when the flyover is about to be opened for the use of public.

The High Court said that  the construction of the flyover at the location Maligaon was the dire need of the citizens of Guwahati. The span of road where the flyover has been constructed is highly congested and creates a bottleneck due to which severe traffic jams are created. It has been observed that even ambulances get stuck in the traffic jams and thus, the early construction of the bridge is a very welcome measure which requires appreciation from all quarters.  
"Thus, by completing the construction of the flyover in remarkably quick time, the authorities concerned have acted with due diligence and in public interest. The attempt of the petitioners to question the actions of the government agencies and in trying to delay the process through this writ petition at this highly belated stage cannot be termed bona fide. Hence, the PIL fails and is dismissed as being devoid of merit", the  order reads.