The Kerala High Court in the cases of Jaffer Khan v. Union of India and Ors and Pouravakasha Samrakshana Samiti v. Union of India and Ors. vide order dated November 23, 2020, has directed the Government of Kerala to execute the installations of vehicle locating tracking devices as well as emergency buttons in public transports facilities so as to secure the safety of the people while traveling in public transport.
These two cases were Public Interest Litigations that had been initiated so as to seek effect to the Central Government’s directions regarding the installation of these public safety devices.
The Court while disposing of these two cases held that due importance had to be attributed to the security of commuters especially the women and the children and that the State Government is duty-bound to perform these notifications and rules sans further delay.
The two petitions had drawn the attention of the Court towards the directions issued to all the State Governments by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs which had directed for all the above-mentioned installations.
The directives were issued in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya Gangrape offense which was committed on a moving bus in the National Capital Territory
Following these directives, corresponding additions were made in the Motor Vehicles Act as well as the Central Motor Vehicles Rules in the form of Section 136 – A and Rule 125 – H respectively. These additions gave effect to the mandatory presence of location tracking devices on all vehicles used for public transport purposes.
Subsequently, adequate amendments were made in the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 which would be in accordance and in furtherance of the Central Government notifications. However, the Writ petitions questioned the delay in implementation of these Rules by the Kerala Government.
Disposing of the Writ Petition, the High Court of Kerala directed the Kerala Government to implement the said rules with effect from January 1, 2021.