People not supposed to be roaming around on highways, says SC


PTI, Nov 20, 2023, 7:18 PM IST

New Delhi: People are not supposed to roam around on highways, the Supreme Court said on Monday while refusing to entertain a plea raising the issue of safety and protection of pedestrians on highways.

The court was hearing a petition challenging an order passed by the Gujarat High Court on a plea raising issues pertaining to the safety and protection of pedestrians on highways.

Dismissing the plea, the high court had said no positive directions can be given as the reliefs claimed in the petition would be a matter of policy decisions.

It had said for the grievances raised in the plea, it was open for the petitioners to approach the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

The matter came up for hearing on Monday before a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

The counsel for the petitioners said the issue raised in the plea pertained to the safety and protection of pedestrians on highways.

‘How do pedestrians come on a highway?’ the bench asked, adding that there has to be discipline.

Referring to statistics, the counsel said there has been a huge increase in the number of road accidents involving pedestrians in the country.

The bench said such incidents would occur if pedestrians are found present where they are not supposed to be.

‘The concept of highways is that it is supposed to be segregated. People are not supposed to be roaming around on highways. That discipline is required,’ it observed.

‘Tomorrow, you will say that they should be permitted to walk or stroll on a highway and the cars should stop. How can that happen?’ the bench asked.

When the lawyer again referred to the statistics and said the number of deaths from such accidents has gone up, the bench said, ‘That is because highways have increased … our discipline has not increased.’ It said the high court had granted liberty to the petitioners to approach the ministry concerned.

‘You can never have a variety of traffic on highways, including pedestrians on highways. You be happy with what you have got,’ the bench said, adding, ‘If people violate the norms, how can the court say they can violate the norms?’ It said people are not found roaming around on highways anywhere in the world.

‘This is a petition totally without logic. This should have been dismissed with cost,’ the bench observed, adding, ‘You have still got something from the high court.’

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