Justice A.M. Sapre Committee

Recently, Supreme Court in India set up a committee to address the issue of road safety in the country, particularly the problem of fatal accidents caused by overspeeding. The committee, which is headed by former apex court judge, Justice A.M. Sapre, will meet with the Road Transport Secretary within two weeks in order to develop a framework for state-specific guidelines for the electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety.

Section 136A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

  • The Supreme Court agreed that urgent steps need to be taken to enforce Section 136A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which provides for the electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety.
  • This provision was introduced into the Act in 2019 in order to keep an electronic eye on errant drivers on national and state highways, roads, and in urban cities across the country.
  • The government has already framed rules under sub-section (2) of Section 136A, which mandate the Centre to "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".

Importance of Road Safety in India

  • Senior advocate K.V. Jain, the counsel for petitioner Rajaseekharan, emphasized the need for action on road safety due to the high number of deaths caused by overspeeding on Indian roads.
  • Jain also pointed out that Sections 215A and B provide for the functions of electronic monitoring to be carried out by the states and the formation of a National Road Safety Board in an advisory capacity, as well as the establishment of road safety councils at the national, state, and district levels.

Focus on "Black Spots"

  • Amicus curiae Gaurav Agarwal argued that the focus should be on the "black spots" or accident-prone areas on roads, rather than blaming drivers for accidents that occur in these areas.

Meeting with Road Transport Secretary

  • The court directed Justice Sapre to hold a preliminary meeting, preferably within two weeks, with the participation of Madhavi Divan, Gaurav Agarwal, and K.V.
  • Jain in order to give suggestions on the issue. The court also asked Gaurav Agarwal to submit a report on the consensus reached during the meeting.

The Supreme Court's action highlights the importance of addressing road safety in India and the need for effective electronic monitoring and enforcement measures. With speeding being a major factor in fatal accidents on Indian roads, the development of state-specific guidelines for electronic monitoring and enforcement of road safety could help to reduce the number of accidents and save lives.

Written by IAS POINT

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