Impacting Court Decisions… !
By Maxwell Pereira
Jt. Commissioner of Police/Traffic, Delhi

Some momentous directions of the Delhi High Court impacting Traffic Management given in December 2001 in a public interest litigation (PIL) Rajiv Awasthy Vs. UOI & others seem to have gone unnoticed without the attention they deserved. This ongoing PIL instituted in 1998 on improving law and order infrastructure in Delhi, has also touched upon aspects of Traffic Management now and again, resulting in resolving some pending issues - including a nominal increase in the Traffic Police strength and the BPR&D Study to further augment it, and various do's and don'ts directed to the concerned in the Government or outside.

The matter listed before the Bench of Justices S/Shri Anil Dev Singh and R.S. Sodhi on December 9 last, had petitioner - advocate Rajiv Awasthy vehemently contend that Delhi's Transport Department has not yet implemented various decisions in pursuance of their affidavit of May 2001, focusing on the need for drivers of heavy vehicles to undergo training and refresher courses of the Institute of Driving Training and Research (IDTR) run by FAITH - a society called Foundation of Automobiles for Inculcating Traffic Habits - under the aegis of the Transport Department of Delhi and Maruti Udyog Ltd. And that the promised introduction of Smart Cards is also to see the light of day.

Consequently, the Court was pleased to order, inter alia, that all drivers of heavy transport vehicles shall undergo a compulsory refresher course of the IDTR at Loni; and that all heavy motor vehicle drivers entering Delhi from other states shall also undergo similar refresher course within 6-months.

Transport Authorities of all states were directed henceforth to incorporate in the permits being issued or renewed to the owners of heavy vehicles, that in respect of any heavy vehicle transiting through or to be driven in Delhi, the owner shall ensure that it be driven by a person who has undergone Training and Refresher course prescribed by Delhi's Transport Department and that he has a certificate to that effect from the IDTR-Loni or any other institute specified by Delhi Govt. or a State Transport Authority. Delhi's Transport Department was tasked to set up IDTRs in each of the 9 police districts in Delhi in a time-bound manner. Five by 31st December 2003 and the rest by December 2004.

The Court directed further: A National Driver License Register containing information on all drivers of heavy motor vehicles be prepared within a year. Information in respect of all drivers to whom driving licenses are issued be stored in a Data Bank, with each driving license having a unique identifying mark including the fingerprints of the licensee. The information, to be computerised in a given Circle and thereafter transferred and stored in a Mother computer.

For implementing these directions, the Court desired that the Government of India, the Govt. of NCT of Delhi and all of the State governments shall act with promptitude and unison requiring the work to be completed within a period of one year.

The proceedings in the Court revolved around improving traffic situation and for finding solutions to curb habitual traffic offenders. The Delhi Traffic Police had first mooted the idea for a National Driver License Register, and for a National Vehicle Information Register over ten years ago, at the meeting of the National Road Safety Council in 1992.

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750words. 27.01.2003:
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