The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to clarify who was responsible for the maintenance and repair work of the Mumbai-Goa National Highway.
A bench of Justices A S Oka and R I Chagla also asked the state government to inform the court of the steps it had taken, either to repair the potholes along the highway or ask the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to do so.
The bench gave the directions while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Owais Pechkar.
Through his plea, Pechkar informed the court that the stretch between Panvel (near Mumbai) and Goa on the National Highway 66 had been damaged due to heavy rains this year.
The stretch is riddled with potholes and poses a threat to the lives of countless commuters each day, the PIL said.
Pechkar said more people were likely to use the stretch in the coming months when they travel to their home towns and villages in the Konkan region during the upcoming Ganpati festival (which falls in September).
“The potholes and the bad condition of the roads will pose a danger to the lives of all these people,” Pechkar told the court.
The bench sought to know who was responsible for the maintenance of the busy highway.
“You tell us if the NHAI is responsible, then we will issue notice to them. At the same time, also tell us what have you done to ensure that the NHAI carry out timely repair and maintenance work.
“And if you are responsible, then inform us of the steps you have taken to repair and maintain the highway,” the bench said.
The HC also reminded the government of its previous judgement, according to which, the state was liable to pay a compensation to citizens or their families who have faced injuries or loss of life in accidents due to bad roads.