Case Analysis: Dr. S. Rajaseekaran v. UOI

Decided bySupreme Court of India
CitationWRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 295 OF 2012  
Decided on22nd April 2014
BenchP Sathasivam, Ranjan Gogoi, N.V. Ramana
AppellantS. RAJASEEKARAN  
RespondentUnion of India

Introduction

On 22nd April, 2014 the Supreme Court bench of Sathasivam, Ranjan Gogoi, N.V. Ramana decided the case of Dr. S. Rajaseekaran v. Union of India WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 295 OF 2012. This case discusses the most crucial problem of India that is the loss of human lives because of road accidents. With the increase in population, there is an increase in the traffic on the roads due to which there is an increase in human tragedies. In this case, it has been drawn that there must be upliftment of the prevailing infrastructure and facilities concerning post-accident care and management to attenuate loss of life and physical injuries to victims of road accidents.

Background

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 The Act came into force from 1 July 1989. It replaced Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 which earlier replaced the first such enactment Motor Vehicles Act, 1914.[1] The act is amended by The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019. The Act provides intimately the legislative provisions regarding licensing of drivers/conductors, registration of automobiles, control of automobiles through permits, special provisions concerning state transport undertakings, traffic regulation, insurance, liability, offenses, and penalties, etc. For exercising the legislative provisions of the Act, the Government of India made the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989.[2]  The working group must be educated about the safety rules and regulations of the road. They must be aware of how to move their vehicles in the traffic.

Facts of the case

The petitioner is a leading orthopedic surgeon of the country and therefore the Chairman and Head of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery within the Ganga Hospital at Coimbatore. He is also the President of the Indian Orthopaedic Association, the most important professional body of orthopedic surgeons within the country. within the course of his professional duties spanning over several decades the petitioner, while rendering professional service to victims of road accidents, has come to understand that the massive number of accidents that occur a day on the Indian roads, causing loss of human lives besides the loss of limbs and other injuries leading to human tragedies, is wholly avoidable.

Within the light of the experience gained and propelled by a desire to render service beyond the decision of duty, the petitioner has filed this writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution seeking the Court’s intervention, primarily, within the matter of enforcement of the prevailing laws and also seeking directions for enactment of what the petitioner considers to be more appropriate legislative measures and for more affirmative administrative action. The petitioner also seeks directions from the Court for the upliftment of the prevailing infrastructure and facilities concerning post-accident care and management to attenuate loss of life and physical injuries to victims of road accidents. Respondents have claimed that they have issued all the safety measures and awareness for the public and they are educating the working groups about the traffic on roads and they have done the amendments in the Acts.

Cases referred

In Pt. Parmanand Katara vs. Union of India[3] instructions are issued by the Ministry to all or any the State Governments emphasizing the necessity for providing medical care to road accident victims without expecting the police for completion of the legal formalities.

Relevant Provisions

Section 192 in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

1[192. Using a vehicle without registration. —

(1) Whoever drives a motor vehicle or causes or allows a motor vehicle to be used in contravention of the provisions of section 39 shall be punishable for the first offense with a fine which may extend to five thousand rupees but shall not be less than two thousand rupees for a second or subsequent offense with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees but shall not be less than five thousand rupees or with both: Provided that the Court may, for reasons to be recorded, impose a lesser punishment.

(2) Nothing in this section shall apply to the use of a motor vehicle in an emergency for the conveyance of persons suffering from sickness or injuries or for the transport of food or materials to relieve distress or of medical supplies for a like purpose: Provided that the person using the vehicle reports about the same to the Regional Transport Authority within seven days from the date of such use.

(3) The Court to which an appeal lies from any conviction in respect of an offense of the nature specified in sub-section (1), may set aside or vary any order made by the Court below, notwithstanding that no appeal lies against the conviction in connection with which such order was made.

Section 215 in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

215. Road Safety Councils and Committees. —

(1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute for the country a National Road Safety Council consisting of a Chairman and such other members as that Government considers necessary and, on such terms, and conditions as that Government may determine.

(2) A State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute for the State a State Road Safety Council consisting of a Chairman and such other members as that Government considers necessary and on such terms and conditions as that Government may determine.

(3) A State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute a District Road Safety Committee for each district in the State consisting of a Chairman and such other members as that Government considers necessary and on such terms and conditions as that Government may determine.

(4) The Councils and Committees referred to in this section shall discharge such functions relating to the road safety programs as the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, may, having regard to the objects of the Act, specify.

There are some provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

Licensing

The vehicles moving on the road must be licensed and registered with RTO as it becomes easy for the traffic police to trace the vehicle and the person if they have caused the accident on the road.

Section 3 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 states that no person shall drive a motor vehicle in a public place without holding a valid driving license. As per the mandate of Section 6, a person cannot hold more than one such license. Further, Section 4 sets the age limits for driving of motor vehicles: 18 years for cars, 16 years for motorcycles, and 20 years for transport vehicles. Section 5 prohibits the owner to permit any person to drive the vehicle without satisfying Sections 3 & 4. If an owner permits any person to drive the vehicle without a driving license, the owner is liable for imprisonment for up to 3 months or fine up to Rs. 1,000 or both, under Section 180.

Use of Road

Road is for everyone, pedestrians and vehicles etc. Each of them should be careful while walking or moving on the road. It must be used in a civilized manner. There are traffic signals on the road to control the traffic and directions of moving which driver should obey and if not, then traffic police should demand for the fine.

Education

Civic sense while walking or driving on the road is very important. It could be only developed only after imparting them with the education for the same and aware them about the safety rules and if they won’t follow this then their life might come under threat.

Emergency

One timely medical aid to the accident victim can cure or save them from the fatal death or consequences of the death. Most of the time death of the person happens because the ambulance did not reach on time. It is because of the poor infrastructure, fewer hospitals and there is no balance between the police station and the ambulance. It’s high time all this to be improved with the increase in population this is a must.

Conclusion

Our safety is in our hands and hence we have to be vigilant and careful. These road safety rules are made for the protection of ourselves and if we will not obey this and will be careful then it would be killing ourselves with our own hands. There has been a dramatic increase in road accidents across the globe; out of which India ranks among the top with 1 in every 9 deaths due to road accidents, is reported in India. It is seen that road accidents are the No. 1 cause of death among children and young adults in the age groups of 5-29 years.[4] Rules have to be stricter and traffic police must keep a check on it.

References

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

www.indiankanoon.org

Questions

  • What if we don’t follow the safety rules of the road?
  • What are the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act?
  • What are the similar cases for this?

[1]  “Introduction” (PDF). The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

[2] “Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989”Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India.

[3] 1989 AIR 2039

[4] Road accident-related deaths in India at 821 per day – WHO RushLane (2018), https://www.rushlane.com/road-accident-related-deaths-in-india-12290199.html

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