Plea on Road Safety: 15 States Participated in Meeting; NCRB to Prepare Concept Paper, SC Told

The Centre told the Supreme Court on Thursday that 15 states have participated in a meeting convened by a committee headed by former apex court judge A M Sapre and apprised the panel about the steps taken with regard to road safety, including the aspect of monitoring enforcement of safety norms by electronic means.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice J B Pardiwala was informed that diverse stakeholders, including from the Centre and states, attended the meeting on March 15.

“The minutes indicate that the Secretary MORTH (ministry of road transport and highways) indicated that the ministry will take up the exercise of standardisation and bring out detailed guidelines to integrate software and hardware with e-Vahan/e-Challan.

“MORTH intends to standardise national guidelines for hardware and software so that there is uniformity across the nation with regard to the modalities for implementing section 136-A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988,” the bench noted in its order.

Section 136-A of the Act deals with electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety and says that the state government shall ensure electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety in the manner provided under sub-section (2) on national highways, state highways, roads or in any urban city within a state which has a population up to such limits as may be prescribed by the central government.

The apex court noted the committee, in this backdrop, has stated in its interim report that based on these discussions, it was decided to task the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to prepare a concept paper on the modalities for implementation of a nation-wide roll out of effective e-enforcement under section 136-A. It was agreed that the concept paper would be prepared in the next three-four months.

It noted the committee has stated in its interim report that the concept paper will be guided by the provisions of section 136-A and the rules issued thereunder, and develop a time bound e-enforcement road map that demonstrably reduces fatalities and accidents.

“In view of the above developments and since the NCRB is to prepare a concept paper on the modalities for implementing a nation wide roll out of the e-enforcement of section 136-A, we presently stand over the proceedings to August 7,” the bench said.

It asked advocate Gaurav Agrawal, who is assisting the apex court as an amicus curiae in the matter, to place before it an updated status report on the next date of hearing.

The bench noted in its order that advocate K C Jain, who appeared in-person, has stated he has certain suggestions based on the fact that actual recovery of fines pursuant to e-challans has to be enhanced.

“He would be at liberty to make his submissions before the committee,” said the bench which was hearing a PIL on the issue of road safety in the country.

On January 6, the top court had directed the committee to convene a meeting within two weeks to evolve a framework for formulating state-specific guidelines on electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety norms across states.

The bench had agreed that urgent steps were needed to be taken to enforce section 136-A (electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

The Centre had earlier told the apex court that the government has already framed Rules under section 136 (2).

According to section 136 (2),”The Central Government shall make rules for the electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety including speed cameras, closed-circuit television cameras, speed guns, body wearable cameras and such other technology.”

The apex court had constituted the Sapre committee while hearing the plea.

According to a Ministry of Road Transport and Highways report published in 2021, altogether 4,12,432 road accidents were reported during the year in which 1,53,972 people lost their lives and 3,84,448 were injured.

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