The Kerala High Court has directed the Transport Commissioner to produce an accident report of vehicles involved in the accident which occurred at Anchumoorthy Mangalam in Thrissur District involving a contract carriage carrying students from Mar Baselios School, Mulanthuruthy, who were on a study tour to Ooty.

The said vehicle hit the rear of a KSRTC bus. In that accident, 9 persons (5 students and 1 teacher in the contract carriage and 3 passengers in KSRTC bus) sustained fatal injuries.

The Division Bench of Justice Anil K. Narendran and Justice P.G. Ajithkumar observed that the contract carriage in question was used in a public place flouting the safety standards prescribed in AIS-008.

"Various materials are placed on the safety glass of the contract carriage. The name of the contract carriage is written in the middle of the wind-screen above the level of the dash board, obstructing the clear vision of the driver. The said vehicle is fitted with multi-toned horn giving a succession of different notes, in violation of sub-rule (2) of Rule 119 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules.", the Court noted.

Earlier, the Court had directed to ensure that contract carriages with unauthorized fittings, high-power audio system, etc., are not used for carrying students in connection with a study tour.

The Court further observed that even after the Orders of the Court various vloggers are posting promotional videos and posts of contract carriages with unauthorized fittings, high-power audio system, etc., flouting safety standards on 'YouTube' and other online platforms.

The Deputy Solicitor General of India, S.Manu, sought further time to get instructions from the Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways as to the action that can be taken against the vloggers and others, who are uploading videos on 'YouTube' and other online platforms, promoting the use of motor vehicles on public place, flouting the safety standards, posing potential threat to the safety of passengers and other road users.

The Court directed the transport commissioner to obtain the details of the vloggers who posted such promotion videos/posts on 'YouTube' and other online platforms.

The Court also directed the Transport Commissioner, through the Enforcement Officers in the Motor Vehicles Department to take photographs and video clippings of the exterior body, driver cabin and passenger cabin of the contract carriage and also the KSRTC bus involved in the accident, and make that available to the Court along with the accident report of both the vehicles.

The Court further directed the Transport Commissioner, through the Enforcement Officers in the Motor Vehicles Department and the State Police Chief, through the District Police Chief of the concerned Districts, to prohibit the use of contract carriages and other transport vehicles in public place, flouting the safety standards.

"Any person who drives, causes or allows to be driven in a public place such a contract carriage or other transport vehicle shall be proceeded against under sub-section (2) of Section 190 of the Motor Vehicles Act and the driving licence held by the driver of such vehicle shall be forwarded to the licensing authority for disqualification or revocation proceedings under Section 19 of the Act, as per the directions contained in paragraph 47 of that order. The certificate of fitness granted to such transport vehicle shall be cancelled by the prescribed authority, in accordance with the provisions under sub-section (4) of Section 56 of the Act, as directed in paragraph 49 of the said order.", the Court added further.

The Court has listed the matter for further consideration on October 10, 2022.

Cause Title- Suo Motu v. State of Kerala & Ors.

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