State Government forms District Road Safety Committees in violation of Supreme Court directions

The Government of Maharashtra had constituted District Road Safety Committees under the Chairmanship of District Collector as per the Motor Vehicles Act in May 2015. However, subsequently the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways constituted District Road Safety Committees with senior Member of Parliament as Chairperson, in all districts of the country. It may be noted that no such powers are granted to the Central Government, since District Road Safety Committees can only be legally notified by the State Government as per the Motor Vehicles Act.

Based on the Ministry’s notification, the Transport Commissioner of Maharashtra sent a letter to all the RTOs asking them to disband the earlier constituted District Road Safety Committees and instead to henceforth convene the Committees constituted by MoRTH. No notification to this effect was issued by the Government of Maharashtra.
Parisar, an organisation based in Pune and working on Road Safety issues was appointed as a member to this committee last year. Program Director Ranjit Gadgil said, “We have looked into the formation of these committees and believe that the newly constituted committees do not have any legal sanctity. Further, they are in contravention of the directions of the Supreme Court dated 30th November 2017, which clearly says that the District Committees must be notified under the Motor Vehicles Act by the State Government and should be chaired by the District Collector”.

Following a PIL by orthopaedic surgeon S. Rajaseekaran, and concerned with the alarming increase in road crash deaths and injuries in the country, the Supreme Court has appointed a Committee on Road Safety headed by Justice K.S Radhakrishnan, which has been monitoring the implementation of the orders of the top court by the State Governments.
Parisar has written a letter to the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety to bring the matter to their notice. This action has been taken since a Member of Parliament cannot be held accountable by the State/District administration. The MoRTH notification should be quashed and the State Governments should comply strictly with the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

The Maharashtra GR which legally mandates formation of the Dictrict Road Safety Committees can be found here.