The Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday directed the transport secretaries of both states to explain their negligence in monitoring the fitting of tamper-proof speed governors on commercial vehicles.
The court asked them why the contempt proceedings be not initiated against them for deliberate breach of the Supreme Court as well as the high court orders making speed governors mandatory to check rash driving.
The special division bench comprising justice Surya Kant and justice Ajay Tewari said: "Unfortunately, the response of both states as well as the Centre is unsatisfactory. No status report has been filed." The transport secretaries have last chance to submit the action-taken report.
The court said: "We are not fond of seeing their (transport secretaries') faces. But they come here, assure us something and don't do anything," said justice Surya Kant, speaking for the bench. The court further said the secretaries had earlier appeared in court and promised remedial steps in time.
Justice Tewari said: "These are sort of execution proceedings. The Supreme Court has finalised the order. It is law of the land but for the last five years, the case is pending here for monitoring."
The court observed that the Haryana government had asked the Centre to clarify which vehicles were exempt but there was no progress now. It directed the union ministry of road transport and highways to file its reply, failing which, an officer of the joint secretary level would have to be present in the court.
Appearing for the petitioner non-government organisation (NGO) Suraksha Foundation, senior advocate Puneet Bali argued: "There is no compliance of court orders by the states, no checks, no balances and no accountability. People are dying on roads every day. There have been many school-bus accidents."
He added that 10 months after the relevant high court directions, Punjab had not moved into action. The court observed that earlier the Punjab government was consulting some Pune-based company but it had not submitted the status update.
On the question of exemption to certain vehicles, the court pulled up the Centre. "If you exempt all vehicles, would you fit speed governors in aeroplanes or bicycles?" questioned the bench.
The next hearing is on November 29.