Kochi: The Kerala High Court has directed the Kochi city police and Ernakulam district authorities to immediately issue an order prohibiting the private buses from using horns on city roads and ensure that they ply on extreme left side of the road without overtaking each other.
In the order dated May 31, Justice Amit Rawal also said the direction shall also be applicable to the autorickshaws plying in the city.
He also ordered installation of speed governors on private buses and auto rickshaws to prevent over speeding by them.
Further, the authorities have been directed to ensure that the registration of the autorickshaws is according to the per capita population of Kochi/Ernakulam, in order to prevent further congestion of the road.
The court gave the direction in its judgement on a plea by 18 autorickshaw owners challenging the Regional Transport Authority's decision imposing certain restrictions for plying the vehicles to pick up passenger or park within the Kochi city.
"While dealing with the writ petition this Court has come across that many autorickshaws being plied in Cochin/Ernakulam and other districts do not follow the traffic rules. They adopt the rule of convenience and not the actual rules by stopping at their convenience for picking up the passengers midway of the journey and beyond the capacity granted in the permit which results into risk of accident," it observed.
Noting that the transport vehicles like private buses in the city of Cochin/Ernakulam also perpetually use the horns in overtaking and while plying on the road, the high court said most of the vehicles are overtaking each other or the other private vehicles risking the life of passengers on the road and those travelling in other vehicles.
Observing that the buses appear 'very old,' the court referred to the Motor Vehicle Act that does not permit the vehicle to be run beyond 15 years and said there has to be a time-line as to till what time the fitness certificate can be issued.
"In other words, whether it can be permitted beyond 15 years by relaxation or granting exemptions.
Accordingly, there shall be directions to the Police Commissioner of Kochi/Ernakulam as well as the Regional Transport Authority, Cochin/Ernakulam to immediately issue an order of prohibiting the private transport buses not to use horn on city and ply on extreme left side of the road without overtaking each other or other private vehicles", it said.
"This direction shall also be applicable to the autorickshaws and shall ensure that the registration or issuance of the autorickshaws do not increase per capita population of Kochi/Ernakulam and to prevent further congestion of the road as the width of the road owing to the paucity of the place is not conducive for plying transport vehicles in large number", it said.