Friday, 10 November 2017

Bom HC constitute committee to ensure repair and maintenance of roads in Maharashtra

The Bombay High Court Wednesday pointed to the lack of implementation of the court’s order on repairing potholes and bad roads across the city and has now constituted a two-member committee to ensure repair and maintenance of roads in the state.
The committee, comprising Justice K R Sriram and Justice G S Kulkarni of the Bombay High Court, will conduct special hearings, pass necessary directions for road repair, and also monitor the implementation of such orders.

A bench led by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur decided to constitute the committee after noting that despite several benches of the High Court having passed detailed orders on improving the condition of roads across the state, the civic bodies had done little to ensure the implementation of the orders.

While taking note of the suffering of the “common man” every monsoon owing to bad roads, the Chief Justice referred to the death of Dr Deepak Amrapurkar of Bombay Hospital, who in August this year fell into an open manhole while making his way through waterlogged roads while trying to get home from the hospital.

“You (litigants and lawyers) ask for wonderful orders and we pass them but what is the use if none of our orders are ever implemented,” said the court. Referring to an order directing authorities to urgently repair potholes and improve the condition of roads in the city, the court pointed out that the doctor had still died.
“Try to imagine the state of mind of the common man who is trying to reach home, or to take a loved one to the hospital in heavy rains. You can’t expect him to remember to be careful of potholes in such a situation, it is not easy. So the best thing is to avoid such circumstances,” the Chief Justice.
The court has now asked the local ward officers in each district to identify all roads in need of repair and inform the secretary of the Maharashtra Legal Services Authority (MLSA) of the same. The Member Secretary, MLSA, in turn will prepare a report on the condition of roads, the need for repair, steps taken by concerned civic bodies and submit the same before the two-member committee.
On the last hearing on August 3 this year, the High Court had appointed the MLSA member secretary as the nodal officer to receive grievances related to bad roads and potholes from the public and ward officers from across the state. “It seems only lawyers have problems and not public… the public has no time to bother about the safety of users. We had expected a good response,” said the Chief Justice referring to the number of complaints received. The court was Wednesday informed that since the last hearing, MLSA has only received 180 complaints from residents.

The Bench directed MLSA to pusblicise the formation of such nodal authority and to encourage the public to share their grievances and complaints of bad roads.

The Chief Justice also said that while the court did not wish to run the administration for the state government, it felt compelled to interfere in cases where the local and administrative authorities failed to discharge their duties. “I personally do not even commute on these roads that are potholed or in need of repair. But I have to take up the cause for the common man. It is the duty and the obligation of the local authorities to repair and maintain roads. But when they fail to discharge this duty, this court feels very unhappy and is forced to interfere,” said the court.
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