Residents of Bengaluru in Karnataka have been facing a tough time with badly maintained roads, footpaths and pot-holes becoming a common sight on city roads. The latest interim order passed by the Karnataka High Court seems to give some hope to people in Bengaluru.
The High Court on Wednesday stated that Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) would be liable to pay compensation to victims or their families who incur losses or injury because of these hazardous roads.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka observed that even after paying tax, citizens still face the risk of getting injured due to the deplorable condition of the roads.
Therefore, “we make it clear that citizens can claim compensation in the event of accidents due to the poor condition of roads”, the Karnataka High Court said.
According to a report in Times of India, the Karnataka High Court's interim directive is somewhat similar to the one passed by the Bombay High Court a couple of years ago to which Chief Justice Oka was a party.
“The scope of Article 21 has been expanded by the Supreme Court. A citizen has every right to a meaningful and dignified life and good roads are absolutely necessary. Ensuring pothole-free roads is a legal and constitutional obligation of the BBMP,” Justice Oka observed.
The court has also instructed the BBMP to set up a grievance redressal mechanism such as a mobile app for the public to lodge complaints. BBMP has also been asked to inform each and every complainant about the action was taken in each case.
The Karnataka High Court has also asked committees and traffic police to keep a check on the condition of roads and report to the BBMP. The ward committees have to conduct regular checks of roads in their respective localities and report inadequacies in their maintenance and repair.
The Ward committees have also been instructed to keep a check on Bescom, BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board), KPTCL (Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited) and other agencies, which regularly dug up roads to lay cables and pipes or for maintenance work. The committees have been instructed to submit reports to BBMP, who in turn, will submit the gist of such reports to the court.
Karnataka High Court was hearing a PIL filed by Koramangala resident Vijayan Menon. The bench has posted the PIL to September 9 to consider the status report to be submitted by the BBMP.