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Speed governors not mandatory yet

The state government told the Bombay high court on Friday that they would not make speed governors mandatory in school buses for now, in a reprieve for school bus operators across Maharashtra.

mumbai Updated: Sep 01, 2012 01:25 IST
HT Correspondent

The state government told the Bombay high court on Friday that they would not make speed governors mandatory in school buses for now, in a reprieve for school bus operators across Maharashtra.

Government pleader Dhairyasheel Nalavade informed the division bench of justice DY Chandrachud and justice Amjad Sayed that transport and police authorities will not enforce the speed governors from September 1, as the issue is still pending.

The bench had asked the State why it had made speed governors compulsory through a government notification (issued on June 25) despite a committee being formed on July 23 to consider the grievances of school bus operators regarding the regulations.

The court, however, refused to grant school bus owners an extension to implement the other conditions in the notification. School bus operators had asked for a time of two or three months to implement these.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Maharashtra School Bus Owners Association challenging the regulations, introduced to ensure the safety of school children.

Apart from making it mandatory to fit speed governors, the government has also made it compulsory for operators to enter into a contract with the schools concerned, set up a rear exit for emergencies, fit fire extinguishers with a capacity of 5 kg and appoint a woman attendant with working knowledge of Marathi, Hindi and English if girl students are in the bus.

The association’s counsel Venkatesh Dhond argued that technical difficulties made these conditions hard to implement. School buses also fulfilled other contracts hence it was impossible to limit their speed to 40 km per hour. The contract that operators were to enter into was also beyond the purview of the Motor Vehicle Act, as there were no statutory sanctions for this, he submitted.

Also, structural changes such as having an exit door at the rear could not be effected overnight, he argued.

However, Nalavade said the regulations had been formulated after consulting representatives of bus operators, but they were challenging the conditions at the eleventh hour.