Ahmedabad city authorities lack spine to enforce traffic rules: Gujarat HC

Referring to the last week’s car accident in Ahmedabad city which claimed nine lives, the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday said the civic authorities do not have the “guts and spine” to enforce traffic rules.

Had police carried out regular checks, the tragedy could have been averted, said a division bench of Justices A S Supehia and M R Mengdey.

The bench was hearing a contempt of court plea filed by Mustak Hussain Kadri against the Gujarat government and Ahmedabad city authorities for allegedly not complying with the directions passed by the HC on a public interest litigation he had filed on the regulation of traffic in the city.

Nine persons were killed and 13 injured when a speeding car ploughed into a group of people on a flyover on S G Highway on July 20.

“Do you know the core issue? The real reason why these things are happening….Because these perpetrators have no fear of law. They blatantly, with impunity, violate the law,” Justice Supehia said.

“You don’t have the spine to implement traffic laws. Neither do you have the will to implement it….You were boasting about CCTV cameras. This accident highlighted the fact that CCTV cameras are not working,” he said, adding that even constables remain mute spectators to traffic violations.

When told by the government pleader that the traffic police has started checking vehicles and the drivers’ licenses, the judge asked if they were waiting for an accident to happen.

“You wait for an accident to happen, you wait for lives to be lost? If you had carried out this (checks for traffic violation) regularly, this would not have happened. This (checking) will go on only for a few days….The drive which you are doing now should be a regular feature,” said Justice Supehia.

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“Where is the fear of traffic laws? With impunity it is being violated. You don’t do anything. You don’t have guts and spine to enforce the law,” the court said.

The judges, however, stopped short of framing contempt charges against the Ahmedabad municipal commissioner and traffic commissioner (as sought by the petition) and gave them time after the government pleader assured that the past directions will be implemented.

Referring to a report of the Gujarat State Legal Services Authorities (GSLSA) regarding the traffic situation in the city, the court observed that there is “illegal parking, encroachment by eateries, restaurants and shopping complexes, chaos is observed at crossroads, there is non-observation of traffic rules, particularly wrong-side driving, etc.”

The hearing was adjourned to August 9.

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