Staff Reporter

HIGH COURTROUND-UP

Kochi: The State Government on Tuesday informed a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court that the order requiring certain class of heavy vehicles, particularly tipper lorries plying in the State, to be fitted with speed governors was expected to be published within three weeks.

The Advocate General made the submission on behalf of the Government when a contempt petition filed by the Kochi-based Institute of Social Welfare against the Transport Secretary and the Transport Commissioner came up before the Bench, comprising Justice M. Ramachandran and Justice A.K. Basheer. The court recorded the submission of the Advocate General that taking note of the present situation, the Government was contemplating issue of a fresh notification making it mandatory for certain class of heavy vehicles, including tipper lorries, to install speed governors.

The petitioner contended that the Government notification issued on October 15, 2005, rescinding the earlier notification for fitting the speed governor in all heavy vehicles amounted to contempt of court. In fact, the action of the Government also violated the undertaking given by the Government before the Supreme Court that it would enforce the requirement of speed governors on or before September 30, 2005.The undertaking had bound them to implement the notification. The court said it thought that the allegations required serious consideration. The court also added that the submission that speed governors would be made compulsory for tipper lorries would be a step in the right direction.

Highway project

The court has admitted a writ petition filed by a group of residents of the Cheranalloor grama panchayat in Ernakulam district challenging the land acquisition steps initiated for the construction of the highway linking Vallarpadom Island to Kalamassery.

According to them, the project proposes to reclaim backwaters to a stretch of six km, which has been prohibited by the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification. It will have adverse impact on the coastal ecology. The petitioner said that no comprehensive rehabilitation package was prepared and submitted to the Ministry concerned before the grant of sanction as required by law. Therefore, invoking of emergency clause under Sec.17 (4) of the Land Acquisition Act for the formation of highway was illegal and arbitrary. The petition sought to declare that the project formulated by the National Highway Authority for the formation of the highway connecting the proposed Cochin Port facility at Vallarpadam to Kalamassery was against the CRZ notification.

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