NEW DELHI: Terming the death of people in road accidents due to potholes as unacceptable, the Supreme Court on Thursday expressed concern over nearly 15,000 such deaths. A bench headed by Justice M B Lokur said, “It is unacceptable that such a large number of deaths takes place on roads due to potholes.” This is not the first time the court has expressed concern over the increasing number of deaths in the country. During a hearing in July, the bench had said, “The deaths caused due to potholes across the country were probably more than those killed on the border by terrorists.”
The observation came after the bench perused a report filed by the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety, headed by former apex court judge Justice K S Radhakrishnan, which said 14,926 people across the country had died in road accidents due to potholes from 2013 to 2017. The bench asked the Centre to file their response on the committee’s report after consulting all state governments and scheduled the hearing for January.
“It is a matter of common knowledge that a large number of people have died in such accidents and authorities, who were supposed to maintain the roads, were not doing their duty properly,” the bench had said. The data on deaths in such accidents was based on the figures released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
The bench observed that many authorities like municipal corporations, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and concessionaires working with them or the state road departments should be held responsible for these deaths, as they are not ensuring timely maintenance of roads.