Madras HC: No need to stop traffic for VIPs including CM and Governor
While suggesting that traffic stoppages due to movement of VIPs in the city of Chennai should not be more than 5 or 10 minutes, the Madras high court has opined that traffic authorities need not stop traffic to allow for the easy passage of dignitaries including the State Chief Minister and the Governor of the State.
Public Interest Litigation against VIP traffic Stoppage
The court made this observation in relation to a public interest litigation that had been filed by a man who claimed to have got late for a doctor’s appointment because of the traffic jam ostensibly caused by traffic being stopped because of a passing VIP. It had been reported that the State Chief Minister was scheduled to be attending a political meeting in RK Nagar when the traffic snarl up happened.
Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose
The First Bench of the Madras High Court made up of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and justice Abdul Quddhose, also opined that the traffic authorities can make exceptions only when very high- ranking dignitaries such as the Prime Minister of the country and or the President of the country make visits. Such exception can be taken, according to the bench, because such visits do not happen often but occasionally, and most often such visits are also much publicised in advance so that the common people can come to know of the visits and often the routes that can be expected to be closed down temporarily.
“As far as possible, traffic should not be stopped for more than 5 to 10 minutes or so for the purpose of the movement of vehicles of high dignitaries, be it the governor, the chief minister, the chief justice (for whom the traffic need not at all be kept waiting) or anyone else,” the court said.
The public interest litigation that brought about such comments from the High Court had been filed by S Doraisamy, an advocate of the high court, who sought action to be taken by the court against the top authorities of the city traffic police for wrongfully stopping him on a main road close by the High Court after a traffic jam. The incident had taken place on March 22, 2017.
“No action is warranted. The petition is disposed of by directing the respondent police authorities to ensure proper traffic regulation and a free flow of traffic to the extent possible,” the bench said while hearing the litigation.
The court, however, stated that the traffic authorities of the city (Chennai) would not be bound by the directions of the court in cases where very high-level dignitaries such as the prime minister of India and the President of the country pay a visit to the city. The traffic police can, in such circumstances or in some other emergency situations, divert traffic from some specific roads.
The petition alleged that the complainant had missed an important appointment with a doctor because of the traffic snarl. Upon further investigation with the police, the petitioner was made aware of the movement of the chief minister in the area scheduled to attend a political meeting in RK Nagar in North Chennai.
The petition had mentioned the commissioner of police and the deputy commissioners of police of Chennai as the accused but the court said that no case could be made against the accused in the PIL.
The bench ruled that no case of misconduct was found to be applicable to the police officials.