Furious over a series of road accident deaths caused by potholes on Mumbai roads, the Bombay High Court has said that it was the Maharashtra government's "constitutional obligation" to ensure pothole-free roads and it was the bare minimum it could do for its citizens.
The observation was made by a division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla while hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Owais Pechkar, who raised the issue of bad condition of roads and potholes between Panvel and Goa on NH-66 every year during monsoons.
The state government informed the court that it would carry out concretisation work on one part of the highway, which falls under its jurisdiction, by January 2020.
Work on the remaining stretch would be carried out by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) by June 2019.
The court, however, said that carrying out just concretisation work would not serve the purpose as the issue of potholes arises every year.
"Before carrying out such work, the government and the NHAI should take expert opinion on what kind of techniques and material to use so as to ensure the problem does not arise again. Just spending huge amount of money and time on the work would not serve any purpose," Justice Oka said.
"It is the authorities' constitutional obligation to ensure roads under their jurisdiction are maintained properly. Providing roads without potholes is the bare minimum the government and other authorities can do for citizens," he said.
The bench has now posted the petition for further hearing on August 7.
The Supreme Court had recently termed as "frightening" the deaths in accident caused due to potholes on roads across the country and said that number of fatalities in such incidents was more than those in terror attacks.
"So many people are dying in the country due to accident caused by potholes on roads. Reports say that more people have died due to accident caused by potholes than the deaths in terrorists attacks" a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta had observed.
(With PTI inputs)