High Court concerned over road mishaps

Asks Transport Department To Make Licensing Details Available Online

NISSAR BHAT

Srinagar, Feb 16: Passing harsh strictures against the state’s Transport Department for “non-compliance” of its orders, the High Court Thursday directed the department to keep available online details of all the licenses issued in J&K.
Showing concern over the rising rate of accidents in the state particularly in Chenab Valley area, the single bench of Justice Hasnain Massodi directed the authorities to place all material including particulars like name, parentage, etc, on the official or any website set up by the Transport Department within 60 days. “In the event the website is not already set up, set it up and host information on it within said timeframe,” the court directed.
However, on the assurance of Transport Commissioner, J&K, Mairaj Ahmad Kakru and Commissioner/Secretary Transport Department, Pradeep Gupta, who on the directions of the High Court were present in person, the court permitted them to complete the process in six months and submit progress report on April 16, 2012.
Although the state officers pleaded that the department needed lot of software and hardware support to comply with the court order, Justice Massodi observed that the court was not bothered about what they needed to do. “We want the directions to be complied with,” the court said.
“There is no reason as to why the authorities should not integrate information technology with the day-to-day affairs of their officer(s) and with the requisite information accessible to the general public,” the court observed.

STRICTURES
Passing strict strictures against the government, Justice Massodi observed that despite passing directions in this regard over two years ago, the authorities have not complied with them.
“It is painful to note that the Transport Commissioner and other authorities have not complied with the Court order though the direction was given two years back,” the court held, adding that the respondents though having sufficient time to mobilize their resources to comply with the court orders have ignored to take adequate steps towards compliance.
“The compliance with court order would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the persons without driving licenses or invalid and ineffective driving licenses, to drive the vehicles and avoid frequent vehicular accidents that claim hundreds of lives every year and have in particular played havoc in Chenab Valley.”
“The disobedience on the part of the officers and officials of Motor Vehicles Department, is bound to lead to the conclusion that a vested interest has developed within the department to allow persons without valid and effective licenses to drive vehicles even at the cost of lives of innocent commuters and pedestrians.”

ACCIDENT VICTIMS’ WOES:
The court held that in a number of cases the accident victims and/or their dependents are left without any remedy against the Insurance Company where the offending driver is found to have invalid and defective license.
The court held: “One of the objects of the Motor Vehicles Act is to ensure that the victims of vehicular accidents or their dependents get compensation. To achieve the object, the Act makes it mandatory for the owners of vehicles to have the insurance cover so that the victims or their dependents claim compensation from the Insurance Company with which the offending vehicle is registered.”
“However, the object gets frustrated and the victim and their dependents left without any remedy against the Insurance Company where the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident is found to have invalid and defective license.”
The court held where an owner employs driver without license, with fake or ineffective license he commits breach of insurance contract giving reason to Insurance Company to escape its liability to indemnify the owner on the ground of such breach.

OWNERS’ HELPLESSNESS
“A vehicle owner has no access to the official record so as to satisfy himself whether the driving license produced before him by a person seeking employment as driver is genuine and effective.”
“It would be a big hassle for the owner to make rounds of the office of Regional Transport Offices in the State to find out whether the driving license produced before him is genuine and fit.”
Justice Massodi observed that keeping all licenses Online would help the owners to verify the veracity of the license before engaging a driver that in turn would help the victims to get compensation from the insurance companies.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Feb 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Feb 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Feb 2012 00:00:00 IST




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