KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday asked the state government to file a report on the incident in which a tourist bus- 'Komban'- caught fire from the firecrackers lit above the bus before embarking on a student excursion at Perumon Engineering College, Kollam on June 26.
The incident came to light after a video captured by a student went viral on social media, followed by news reports. The reports said before starting the journey, the bus operators had allegedly lit the firecrackers above the bus.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Anil K Narendran and Justice PG Ajith Kumar also viewed the video clippings of the incident in open court.
The Bench observed that "the state of affairs, as disclosed from the news report that appeared in print and visual media make it explicitly clear that even after the orders of this Court, contract carriages are being used in public places flouting the safety requirements, posing a potential threat to the safety of passengers and other road users."
The Special Government Pleader sought time to get instructions on the incident. The court also directed him to get instructions as to whether such vehicles are being used in schools as educational institution buses, on a contract basis, and also by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, for tourism promotion.
The court also directed the Transport Commissioner and State police chief through their officers to ensure that colour photographs and video clippings of the exterior body of the contract carriage or other transport vehicle, the driver cabin, and the passenger cabin are enclosed along with the accident report or inspection report. The person, who drives or causes or allows to be driven in any public place such as a transport vehicle, is proceeded against in accordance with the law, held the court.
The court also observed that despite the Motor Vehicles Department acting against contract carriages using unauthorised lights and sound systems that distracted other motorists and could cause accidents, such violations are continuing.