Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, July 4
After a city-based RTI activist filed a contempt petition against the Transport Department officials for allegedly ignoring the court order regarding pending traffic challans in Ludhiana, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a notice of motion to the respondents, including the Principal Secretary, Transport Department, the State Transport Commissioner and the Secretary of Regional Transport Authority of Ludhiana.
The petitioner, Rohit Sabharwal, has filed a civil original contempt petition (COCP) against the respondents as around 70,000 traffic challans are still pending for disposal as per information. The court order dated July 1, 2019, reads: “Aditya Sharda, AAG Punjab, accepts notice on behalf of respondents.” The court has been adjourned till August 28.
Sabharwal has alleged that the officials of the Transport Department are allegedly not complying with the court order of April 26, 2018, under which the respondents were directed to redress the grievance of the petitioner, in accordance with law.
The petitioner claimed to have made various representations and also submitted applications under the RTI Act, 2005, and sought information with regard to the total number of traffic challans pending at the Secretary Regional Transport Authority office, Ludhiana, which were not disposed of and the registration certificates or driving licences of the defaulting persons and vehicles are still in possession of the office.
Sabharwal said: “After getting information, I requested the authorities concerned to clear the pendency of traffic challans, but to no avail. I got information from the department that 71,692 traffic challans were still pending for disposal. The delay in disposal of challans caused a huge loss to the public exchequer, which was not being recovered by the respondents. It was the responsibility of the authorities concerned to take further legal action against traffic violators if they don’t come forward to get their challans disposed off.”
According to sources, unauthorised agents are commonly seen at the office of Regional Transport Authority, Ludhiana, and they charge “illegal fee” from the violators to help them to get their challans disposed of in an easy manner.
A road safety activist, Rahul Verma, said: “The government should make the challan-disposal system easy. The online facility for paying challan fee should be introduced. The documents should be returned in an easy manner once the payment against challan is received. If the system is made easy, it will lead to more financial benefit to the department.”
The Secretary, Regional Transport Authority of Ludhiana, Damanjit Singh, said he had not received the notice of motion and he couldn’t comment without reading it.