A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has directed the Transport Commissioner to ensure that enforcement officers such as motor vehicle inspectors (MVIs) who are assigned the duties of scrutinising and processing various applications submitted by the public are put back to their enforcement duties at the earliest.
The Bench passed the directive while disposing of public interest litigation (PIL) by Jyothi Chandran P.N, a former Joint RTO, recently. The petitioner pointed out that road accidents were mounting in the State. Despite the road safety conditions moving from bad to worse, the State government had deployed the enforcement officers for administrative jobs, diluting the provisions of the Kerala Road Safety Authority Act, 2007 and crippling the functioning of the Enforcement Wing.
According to the provisions of the Act, the enforcement officers should not be deployed for other services of the Motor Vehicles department (MVD), he said.
The court said that as far as possible, the Enforcement Wing shall be deployed for road safety in contemplation of the provisions of the Act. Every step and action shall be taken by the Transport Commissioner to ensure that the provisions of the Act was implemented in its letter and spirit.
When the petition came up for hearing, the State government submitted that the enforcement officers were deployed temporarily at offices of the RTO and sub-regional transport offices for processing and speedily clearing pending applications that had piled up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They would join back on the enforcement duties once these applications were cleared.
The petitioner, therefore, sought a directive to the State government to bring the entire Enforcement Wing of the MVD constituted for road safety under the Road Safety Authority and the Road Safety Commissioner in consonance with the provisions of the Road Safety Act.