The Karnataka High Court on Monday pulled up the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for not complying with its order to compensate victims of accidents caused due to potholes.
A two-judge bench of Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice SR Krishna Kumar was hearing a PIL filed by a resident of Koramangala -- Vijayan Menon and four others, who had stated that BBMP's negligence in filling up potholes had led to residents losing their lives in accidents, Deccan Herald reported.
Justice Oka also warned the BBMP that action would be initiated under contempt of court if it failed to compensate victims rightfully. The court also directed the civic body to file an affidavit on non-compliance of the order, TOI reported. The court directed the BBMP to impose a fine on contractors who are responsible for maintaining the roads and use that money to compensate the victims, the report added.
The BBMP's counsel told the court that between October 1 and November 8, a total of 9,319 potholes were filled of the 10,665 potholes that were identified. The BBMP also claimed that heavy rains were a major impediment to fill up the potholes. The engineers are working day and night and would complete the work by the end of November, it said in an affidavit, The Deccan Herald report said.
The Palike's counsel submitted that there were no specific guidelines in the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act regarding the compensation for victims of pothole accidents. It told the court that new guidelines had to be framed and that the Palike is consulting with experts concerned and that evidence is needed to prove that the accidents happened due to potholes, due to which there were delays in compensating the victims. The BBMP also told the court that it was making efforts to ensure that the roads have no potholes, the report added.
According to TOI, the court had pulled up the BBMP on July 31 and had asked the civic body to consider claims for compensation filed by victims of pothole-related accidents. On September 9, the court had asked the civic body to give publicity to the same. Earlier in October, the court had once again pulled up the BBMP for not advertising the court order that pothole accident victims could claim compensation. The BBMP's counsel had told the court at the time that it would comply with the court's order.