Taking a serious note of the frequent deaths on Gurgaon Expressway, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has admitted the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the father of a hotel management student who was killed in an accident on March 7 on the stretch.
The court has also, for the first time, issued a notice to National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) asking it to file a reply by July 21. On May 1, the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh, T.S. Thakur, admitted the PIL and issued directions for issuance of a notice to the NHAI, said Pankaj Sharma, the lawyer for the aggrieved father Kanwaljit Singh Anand.
Hindustan Times had reported on March 10 that the parents of Rahul Anand (19) — killed in a car mishap on Gurgaon Expressway on March 7 — would drag NHAI and the concessionaire DSC Limited into the court. Kanwaljit Singh filed a PIL on April 29, seeking directions to police commissioner to file a case of criminal negligence against NHAI and DSC officials.
He also sought directions against the Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, NHAI, DSC, Gurgaon police and Haryana Urban and Town Planning for implementations of the required safety measures to check more deaths on the expressway.
Four HT reports covering deaths on the stretch have also figured in the PIL filed by Anand. This is the first ever move against NHAI and DSC by the relatives of the 100 persons killed on Gurgaon Expressway since January 2008.
Anand said he had filed a PIL against the ministry, the NHAI, the DSC, the police department and others to ensure adequate safety norms are followed on the Gurgaon Expressway, where about 100 people have died since January 2008.
“I have sought penal action under section 304A of IPC and safety-norms related directions against the officials responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of this stretch. I have lost my son but would not like others to lose their near and dear ones because of the negligence of the authorities,” he said, with tears in his eyes, on Sunday.
On March 7, his son Rahul Anand was on his way to Indian Institute of Hotel Management, Gurgaon in his Maruti SX4 car from Delhi. “After paying toll tax he was in the Haryana region of the expressway, when a pedestrian tried to cross the road. The sudden appearance of the pedestrian forced Rahul to swerve the vehicle and in the process he hit a stationary water tanker truck which was watering the plants sown on the divider of the expressway around 3.00 p.m. He later died in a private hospital," he stated in his petition.
Anand said had the NHAI erected iron fencing preventing the pedestrians from crossing the expressway, his son would not meet with an accident.
DSC was also at fault as it allowed the tanker to be parked on the top lane of the expressway when there was a heavy traffic movement. Anand also said the police simply got away by filing a case of death due to negligence against the individual owner of the water tanker.
When contacted the NHAI and DSC officials said that they were not aware of any PIL and therefore would not be able to comment on this for now.