Deaths due to potholes on roads not at all acceptable, victim family be given compensation: SC

NEW DELHI: Expressing deep concern over raising number of deaths due to potholes on roads, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that concern authority, which is responsible to maintain road, should be held accountable for such causalities and compensation should be paid to victim’s family.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta said it is frighting that more people are dying in the country due to accident caused by potholes than terrorists attacks and sought response from the Centre on how to address the problem.

Potholes took a deadly toll in 2017, claiming almost 10 lives daily with annual fatalities in the country adding up to 3,597 — a more than 50% rise over the toll for 2016. The magnitude of the problem can be understood from the fact that terrorist activities in India, Naxal attacks included, claimed 803 lives, including that of terrorists, security personnel and civilians, in 2017.

Advocate Gaurav Agrawal, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, told the bench that SC-appointed committee on Road Safety has compiled the data as per which during the period 2013 to 2017 as many as 14936 deaths took place due to potholes on roads.

“ This is obviously a very high number and it indicates that the concerned authorities whether they are Municipal Corporations or State Governments or National Highway Authority of India or other such bodies or organizations are not maintaining roads effectively. It is not at all acceptable that such a large number of deaths take place due to potholes on roads. To add to the problem, there is no provision for grant of compensation to the legal representatives of the victims who have to live with an unforeseen tragedy which arises only due to lack of concern by the authorities. There is also, unfortunately, no criminal action taken against the concerned authorities for their negligence,” the bench said.



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