The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday questioned the Punjab government's selection of two road safety experts in the 10-member state road safety committee "packed with bureaucrats" for considering draft road safety policy of the state.
The high court also questioned the rationale of the Chandigarh administration of including 17 members in its road safety council, headed by adviser to the Chandigarh administrator, when the high court had earlier made it clear that the council should have a maximum of 10 members.
The division bench headed by chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul directed the state government to place on record, within two weeks, the credentials and expertise in the field of road safety of the two selected members, namely Baljinder Singh and Prabhdyal of Jalandhar district.
Petitioner Kamaljeet Singh Soi, vice-chairman of Punjab State Road Safety Council, argued, "The state government is not serious about road safety. Instead of appointing road safety experts as directed by the court, they have appointed novices or inexperienced people who don't have any knowledge of road safety."
Soi added, "The government is playing politics even with the dead bodies of the victims. Road safety is a technical and highly sensitive matter."
Punjab government's principal secretary, transport, SS Channy, informed the court that the meeting of road safety council was held on November 15 under the chairmanship of the transport minister and the draft of the road safety policy had been prepared. He said a committee chaired by the principal secretary transport had been constituted to consider the draft policy that had Baljinder Singh and Prahbdyal as non-official members.
Taking a serious view of the state governments taking road safety lightly, the high court in August had directed Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to constitute road safety experts' committee/council "not packed with bureaucrats" and frame road safety policies within four months.
The case will come up for hearing on January 29.