‘Stop this subletting business’
The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Delhi government and the police to crack down on illegal sub-letting of Blueline buses by the original owners.
Expressing shock over the ease with which buses involved in accidents return on roads, a Division Bench of Justices Mukul Mudgal and Reve Kheterpal sought from the Delhi government a list of MLAs, MPs, policemen and their relatives who owned Blueline buses.
“How is this sub-letting business going on? How do you allow this? Don’t you think it makes passing the buck after each accident easier?” Justice Mukul Mudgal sought to know from Delhi government’s counsel Mukta Gupta.
It was lawyer A. J. Bhambani who brought the issue to the attention of the judges. Assisting the court, he said the bus involved in the accident at Badarpur was registered in the name of Manish Kakkar. He had given the contract to run the bus to Nawab Khan, who sublet it to two drivers.
Bhambani said in case of fatal accidents, the owner and the person who has taken the contract should also be booked under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
When Bhambani pointed out reports that the majority of the drivers involved in fatal accidents are back on duty, Justice Mudgal asked the lawyer representing Sunday’s killer Blueline as to how many such drivers continued to run the buses.
The lawyer said such records are not maintained. This prompted a furious Justice Mudgal to remark, “Then you better keep records. Ignorance may be bliss, but not in this case.”
Following allegations that errant Bluelines were let off lightly because they were owned by policemen and politicians, the court sought details from the government. On July 31, Principal Secretary (Transport) R. Chandramohan had filed an affidavit in the court, stating they do not maintain records regarding the occupation of vehicle owners and family.
Hindustan Times has highlighted the fact that relatives of policemen and politicians own most Bluelines and are rarely penalised.