SC bins BBMP's plea against pothole relief

SC bins BBMP's plea against pothole relief

The BBMP has often received flak for potholes and craters on Bengaluru roads.

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a plea by the BBMP against a Karnataka High Court order to pay compensation to citizens who suffered any loss due to road accidents caused by potholes in the city, saying it was “an extremely innocuous direction”.

“Show us how you can be aggrieved about it (high court order). You have to ensure there are no potholes,” a bench of justices R F Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat told advocate Sanjay M Nuli, appearing for the civic body.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has often received flak for potholes and craters on city roads. The high court had on July 31, 2019, directed the agency to give wide publicity to the rights of citizens for seeking compensation from the state or its agencies if people suffered injuries or damage due to the poor condition of roads or footpaths.

A division bench issued the direction on a PIL filed in 2015 by Vijayan Menon and three others from Koramangala, seeking directions to the BBMP to repair large stretches of roads riddled with potholes.

On Thursday, the counsel submitted before the top court that the high court order would result in confusion and loss to the state exchequer. “It will open up a Pandora’s box wherein numerous people will claim compensation for no fault of the corporation,” he said.

If the reason for the accident is potholes, then the victim can make the corporation a party to the FIR and also approach the Motor Accidents Tribunal and seek compensation, he said.

“However, if the petitioner is still forced to publicise such a scheme that it will compensate victims in accidents, then it will result in chaos. Further, the petitioner does not possess the requisite mechanism or resources to handle every complaint,” the plea by the BBMP said.

The top court remained unimpressed and declined to interfere with the high court’s directions.