The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday expressed that the governments of both states could have installed the mandatory speed governor in all commercial vehicles for a much lower cost than what they had paid as motor-accident compensation in the past three years.
The high court pulled up the transport secretaries of both states, RR Jowel (Haryana) and SS Channi (Punjab), who were in the court, for failing to ensure that the device was fitted in all transport vehicles, even after the case is pending in the high court for three years.
The special division bench comprising justices Surya Kant and Ajay Tewari said: "People are dying in accidents because of speeding vehicles day in and day out. But the governments do not seem to have any intention to ensure the fitting of tamper-proof speed governors in vehicles."
Haryana's principal secretary of transport RR Jowel submitted: "We have issued traffic ticket to 800 vehicle owners in a year." The court replied: "Challaning is a method of revenue generation for the government. How many driving licences have you cancelled?" To this, Jowel had no satisfactory reply.
Appearing for the petitioner, non-government organisation (NGO) Suraksha Foundation, senior advocate Puneet Bali argued: "Hundreds of people have died in road accidents since the petition was filed in the court. Karnataka had ensured the fitting of tamper-proof speed governors and adopted a new technology of embedding a chip in these devices to monitor the vehicles' speed as well as location on computer."
The court told both transport secretaries: "It is not an adversarial litigation. Why is that it is the court versus the government? If you don't want to do anything, tell us."
When the Punjab secretary submitted that in the state, more than 50,000 speed governors had been installed, the court asked him: "When every transport vehicle has to get clearance from transport authorities every year, how could it not be ensured in the past three years that all vehicles had speed governors?"
The court made it clear to both secretaries that in case of not satisfactory progress by the next hearing on February 2, they would have to be in the court again.