Even as Blueline buses continued their killer run in the new year, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said it was contemplating strict enforcement of rule of technical qualification for the drivers. The court has asked the Delhi government and traffic police to scrutinise the credentials of bus drivers involved in fatal accidents or grievous injury; whether they have the minimum educational qualification of Class X pass and possess all the requisite licenses and badges.
The court said it would hike fines against under-qualified drivers and also propose to cancel their permits permanently. The court presently levies Rs one lakh from owners for the release of buses involved in accidents and Rs 50,000 from those who caused grievous injuries.
Bluelines have already claimed six lives this year.
The court gave the direction while hearing a petitions filed by three bus owners seeking release of their vehicles. The Bench imposed the fines as an interim measure till the amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act. The proposed amendment in the MV Act, to increase the fine from Rs 50,000 to minimum one lakh, has been passed by the Lok Sabha and is pending before the Rajya Sabha.
“Let insurers pay”
Meanwhile, the court issued notices to the government, insurance companies — National and Oriental –– and amicus curiae (lawyer assisting the court) on a petition filed by bus operators urging the court to recover the fine amounts from insurance companies. Their lawyer Pooja Aganpal argued insurance companies are fully liable for any loss or damage to the third party and even the policy certificates state it clearly.