Mumbai: Observing that Regional Transport Offices in Maharashtra were not following the Central Motor Vehicles Rules when renewing fitness certificates of transport vehicles, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday ordered action against the concerned officials.
The court also asked the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) to conduct surprise visits at all the RTOs in the state to ensure that fitness certificates were being issued in a proper way by adhering to the rules.
"The visits shall be completed within a period of two months....The necessary charges shall be paid by the state to ARAI," said the division bench headed by Justice Abhay Oka.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Shrikant Karve, which alleges that RTOs do not follow the rules while issuing fitness certificates, which leads to accidents.
It points out that illegal modifications in the private buses, especially those having sleeper berths, turn them into death traps, as seen in recent cases of fires on buses.
ARAI teams would ensure that prescribed road length is available at RTO offices for testing the brakes, and also availability of necessary equipment for conducting other tests.
ARAI would submit a report to the court within three months.
The High Court also directed the state to conduct a special, one month-long drive for identifying the transport vehicles whose fitness certificates have lapsed and take a strict action against the owners.
The use of such vehicles at public places would cease immediately, said the court.
The court also asked the government and the Maharashtra Public Service Commission to expedite recruitment of 150 Assistant Motor Vehicle Inspectors and 75 Motor Vehicle Inspectors within three months. MPSC should complete its procedure and submit recommendations to government within six months, and the appointments shall be made within a period of four months thereafter.
The HC also directed the state finance ministry to take decision on the proposal to create additional posts of vehicle inspectors within three months.
The state government shall provide adequate staff and necessary infrastructure to all the RTOs in Maharashtra.
The HC also directed that government would forthwith start the process of interlinking all the RTOs through the Internet, so that data can be accessed anywhere.
"The facility of issuing learner`s licences on the basis of online applications has been started in one office in Mumbai. An endeavour shall be made to make such facility available in all the offices in a phase-wise manner," said the court.