Negligence by Government Authorities Leads to Loss of Life

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Author : Tamanna pankaj
Published on : September 02, 2016

Tamanna pankaj's Profile and details
i am tamanna pankaj . i am a final year student of law and will basically writes about the latest legal decisions and amendments by the judiciary

Negligence by Government Authorities Leads to Loss of Life’s

We all came through a fatal accident that occurred in front of Delhi’s square mall in Vasant Kunj on Saturday (30th July 2016) after a 45-year-old biker tripped and got run over by a speeding truck owing to a pothole.
This unfortunate accident creates a melancholic situation for the family of that young person who died just because of the negligence in the work of the government authorities. Although the solatium has been given to the family of the deceased person.

Through this article, we will discuss which authorities are responsible for the maintenance of roads, statistics of road accidents occurred due to poor road conditions and various decisions of apex courts regarding this issue of negligence of government bodies in performing their duties.

The times of India in one of its articles published on August 1, 2016, shows that last year,10,727 people were killed in crashes caused by potholes, speed breakers, and roads that were under repair or being constructed. The number of people killed due to potholes rose to 3,416 from 3,039 in the previous year.

If we talk about at who all are responsible or which government authorities could be held liable for these accidents because of poor conditions of roads, we must first take an overlook which authorities are empowered with the duty of management of roads.

If we take up the example of recent accident case that took place in Delhi on 30th July 2016 is due to a pothole. In Delhi roads, maintenance responsibility is being divided among several authorities like PWD that comes under Delhi government, NDMC, cantonment boards, municipal corporation and for highways there is NHAI.

The authority which seems to be liable for the recent pothole accident case is PWD which comes under the state government.If we look at the past verdicts of the courts, we will find that our judiciary is taking these road accidents which are occurring due to the negligence of government bodies very seriously and are giving strict verdicts on it.The latest order passed by Himachal Pradesh high court directing the managing director of state road transport corporation and transport commissioner to appear before it in a matter relating to the bad condition of the roads causing bus accidents in the state. The court here passed the order on a petition filed by Ajay siphayia and directed Himachal Road Transport Corporation(HRTC) MD to file a fresh status report in the matter.

Similarly, in an important judgment, a division bench of the Bombay high court, comprising of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice c.v. Bhadang has in an interim order passed on 20 may,2015, held that having pothole free roads in reasonable condition is a fundamental right of citizens, which is included in Article 21 of the constitution. This order was passed in a suo moto public interest litigation (PIL) initiated in 2013 by an order of the chief justice Mohit Shah of Bombay high court.  A letter addressed by Justice G.S.Patel to the chief justice of high court on 24th July 2013 initiated this PIL.

The Bombay high court in 2013 has ruled that the victims of road accidents and their next of kin have a right under law to claim compensation.But the question arises is the mere compensation will be sufficient for the loss of life of a person? Should the government official should not be held personally liable for negligence and should be punished? The citizens are paying taxes to the government which is only used in the maintenance of these roads, highways, and many more things and besides paying the taxes they still are not getting the good and safe roads. Our courts have come up with various decisions on this negligence on the part of a government official which is leading to the loss of life of people still the government authorities are not following those decisions of courts. Don't you think this constant negligence should be considered as misconduct of courts of decision? Don’t you think this is creating a situation of political mockery? In such type of cases apart from compensating the family of the victim, the government official personally responsible for that negligence which leads to the loss of life should also be punished as this rapidly increasing road accidents are affecting our country both emotionally and economically.