Kerala High Court: Devan Ramachandran, J. gave certain directions to resolve the pathetic conditions of the roads in Kerala.

This instant petition is one of the longest pending petitions (ten years) of this Court. The reason for the petitioners to come before this Court was, the pathetic road conditions of Kerala and in particular, the “Queen of the Arabian Sea” – the City of Kochi. The petitioners pray for someone to take responsibility for the deterioration of roads. Particular stakeholders from the Government should be liable for the horrendous conditions of the road and the Government be directed to insist on a minimum five-year performance guarantee from the Contractor/Agency which is entrusted with the work of laying new roads and repairing it.

Advocate General C.P. Sudhakara Prasad for the respondents submitted that in spite of having the latest technology and methodology for laying new roads and for its maintenance, many of them turn decrepit for various unavoidable reasons. He further submitted that all necessary steps have been taken by the concerned authorities to immediately cause the essential repairs. All the concerned Engineers and Staff under the Local Self Government Departments and Public Works Departments will be held responsible if the roads are not repaired within the given timeframe.

The Court observed that the deaths due to potholes and craters inroads have been common due to the conditions of the roads. Time, energy and money of the hapless citizens are wasted every day. The Court directed the Government, Public Works Department and the Local Self Government Institutions to repair and maintain all roads immediately to make them motorable, at least to the minimum necessary standard immediately. The repair and maintenance work to be carried on and completed following the due procedure but under the strict and continuous supervision of the concerned and competent Engineer and Staff of the respective Departments/Institutions.

In regard to a minimum Five Year performance guarantee from the Contractor/Agency was left to be decided upon by the Government as it is a matter of policy.

The Court, with the hope the directions will not be exhaustive in its nature; it would operate as a minimum standard for all Authorities to act. [C.P. Ajithkumar v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 3701, decided on 18-10-2019]

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