HC dismisses PIL seeking accident compensation
The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice NM Jamda on April 25, made available to public on April 26Updated: May 07, 2019, 17:03 IST
The Bombay high court recently dismissed a petition filed by a Pune-based activist who asked for the state government to provide compensation to road accident victims. The application blamed the state for issuing fitness certificates to vehicles unfit for road.
The public interest litigation (PIL) sought to make the state government “vicariously liable for all road accidents and compensate the victims”, according to the April 25 order. The PIL was filed by Shrikant Manohar Karve, the activist whose earlier PIL had led to dismissal of 50 road transport office (RTO) staff from Maharashtra.
“The assumption that all road accidents were on account of the vehicles plying on the road being not road worthy is misconceived,” read the order from the Bombay high court. The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice NM Jamda on April 25, made available to public on April 26.
In 2012, Karve had filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court after the local RTO refused to follow procedure to issue fitness certificate to his vehicle.
“I filed the PIL to pin down the responsibility of road accidents on someone. I do not know why the court dismissed the matter,” said Karve.
Karve presented a hypothesis in his application that maximum number of vehicles involved in road accidents is commercial vehicles. “Of the commercial vehicles involved in accidents, 80 per cent are given fitness certificates by the state RTO. Why are they given fitness certificates when they are not fit?,” said Karve. However, the court did not take the hypothesis into account and asked for statistical proof.
“If the petitioner was serious in espousing the cause, he ought to have obtained information under the Right to Information Act concerning FIRs registered whenever a fatal accident took place. He ought to have obtained the information regarding the cause of the accident and in particular; whether the accident was the result of a mechanical failure of the motor vehicle,” read the court order.
In February 2016, a final order was issued in Karve’s initial PIL. However, the state had not complied with all the directions issued by the HC, according to Karve.
Karve said that he had filed the PIL later in 2016 in order to supplement the high court order that had directed RTOs to comply with the HC order within 6 months.