High Court slams govt for mak­ing mock­ery of or­ders

The Free Press Journal - - MUMBAI - STAFF REPORTER

The Bom­bay High Court was on Tues­day con­fronted with a unique case in which a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial, posted at So­la­pur had trav­elled 254 km to Pune, only to con­duct a fit­ness test on ve­hi­cles. This ‘duty’ that was dis­charged by the of­fi­cial af­ter trav­el­ling such a large dis­tance was termed ‘il­le­gal’ by the HC since he was not au­tho­rised to do it.

The HC on Tues­day rapped the Ma­ha­rash­tra gov­ern­ment, say­ing it should stop mak­ing a mock­ery of court or­ders and de­cide whether it wanted to strictly im­ple­ment the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Act pro­vi­sions per­tain­ing to fit­ness cer­tifi­cates of ve­hi­cles.

A di­vi­sion bench of Jus­tice Abhay Oka and Jus­tice Anil Menon were shocked to hear about the mis­con­duct of the Re­gional Trans­port Of­fice (RTO) de­part­ment. The judges were sur­prised to hear about the con­duct of the of­fi­cial – Deepak Mane, which has been go­ing on since May this year, and in­ter­est­ingly, the Pune RTO’s higher of­fi­cials were not aware of this il­le­gal­ity.

The judges were hear­ing a batch of pe­ti­tions seek­ing ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Act, which man­dates fit­ness test of ve­hi­cles be­fore ply­ing on roads.

Dur­ing the course of hear­ing, Shrikant Karve, a se­nior cit­i­zen, who has taken the state trans­port de­part­ment to task by fil­ing this pe­ti­tion, in­formed the judges about Mane’s act. He claimed the of­fi­cial charged at least Rs. 5000 to cer­tify each ve­hi­cle. He also ap­prised the judges of the fact that out of the 70 trucks, which Mane had re­cently cer­ti­fied to be fit, a to­tal of 62 be­longed to a par­tic­u­lar com­pany.

Hav­ing heard the sub­mis­sions, the judges sought to know if the Pune RTO of­fi­cials were aware of this il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity. A neg­a­tive re­sponse irked the judges, who then slammed the de­part­ment as well as the gov­ern­ment for their ‘ca­sual’ at­ti­tude.

Jus­tice Oka said, “This court has time and again passed sev­eral or­ders in th­ese mat­ters but we see hardly any com­pli­ance. And this acts like this com­pel us to pass harsh or­ders, which you (gov­ern­ment) then crit­i­cise.”

“It’s shock­ing to hear the dis­trict RTO of­fi­cials were not aware of all this given the fact that it was go­ing on since May. But even now, though his fac­ing a de­part­men­tal en­quiry, we do not know why he is still in ser­vice. Is this the way a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial must work?” Jus­tice Oka ob­served.

The judges have now di­rected a higher of­fi­cial of the state trans­port de­part­ment to look into the is­sue and file a re­port on the same. “We also want the gov­ern­ment to spell out if it se­ri­ously wants to im­ple­ment this court’s or­ders. We can­not see such acts which are mak­ing mock­ery of this court’s or­ders. Tell us on an af­fi­davit if the gov­ern­ment pro­pose to im­ple­ment the or­ders and if not, then we know to pass ap­pro­pri­ate or­ders,” Jus­tice Oka said.

Mean­while, the judges have di­rected the Col­lec­tor of Pune to file a re­port con­firm­ing the RTO’s claim of open­ing up ded­i­cated tracks for con­duct­ing fit­ness of ve­hi­cles in four places. The mat­ter would be next heard on Thurs­day.

This court has time and again passed sev­eral or­ders in th­ese mat­ters (Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Act pro­vi­sions) but we see hardly any com­pli­ance. And this acts like this com­pel us to pass harsh or­ders, which you (gov­ern­ment) then crit­i­cise. We also want the gov­ern­ment to spell out if it se­ri­ously wants to im­ple­ment this court’s or­ders. We can­not see such acts which are mak­ing mock­ery of this court’s or­ders. - JUS­TICE ABHAY OKA Bom­bay High Court judge

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