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When the courts lose the plot whom do we go to?

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Here is an article from todays DH.

“Really life in the city of Bangalore with all its material comforts has become a hell because of these traffic conditions. It is in this background widening of roads is the only means to overcome traffic congestion,” Justices Kumar and Kempanna said.

Is the only means?  What happened to public transport?  I thought judges and courts went by evidence and data not on opinions.

Isn't the onus on BBMP to provide data that the road widening and one-ways have indeed reduced congestions over a 5 year period during peak hours rather than just make a claim that road widening is needed.  Should the courts not have asked for evidence from both sides.  Seshadri Road was widened to I don't know how many lanes.  Has the situation improved? Where do pedestrians and bus commuters fit into such a policy?  

To catch a bus from say Brigade Road to Majestic, one needs to walk to Richmond Road.  To take a bus from JC Road back to Jayanagar one needs to go to Devanga Hostel.   

If they make the entire road width usable, that will itself widen roads by 20% or so before trees are chopped and pavements are destroyed.




sanjayv's picture

Well, courts are not a panacea

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After the Supreme court ruling on tinted windows and after seeing some other press reports on proceedings in court, it is not clear if there is any value to pinning hopes on courts.  If I recall, a judge few months back went ballistic because a reporter was chewing gum.  Does the judge not have better things to focus on?

Since decisions in  our country seem to be made based on all considerations except good data, it is clearer than ever now that lot of judgements, especially on policy and technical issues can be purely based on the emotions of the judges in charge.  A judgement can be twisted to justify pretty much anything.  Since our standards and expectations were abyssmal, the mere act of upholding the law by a court appeared to be great and was praised by many. However, I am leaning more and more towards courts butting their heads out of issues like this.

I mean, does the court have a role in deciding if road widening is good or bad policy?  If the executive decides to use unscientific methods like most of our country does anyway, who are the courts to say otherwise?

idontspam's picture


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Absolutely irresponsible judgement. Did the courts go into the need for accomodating this many cars at all? Have they gone into the modal share & asked for committmed modal share target numbers? Have they checked BBMP's capability to do road widening (Hosur-Lashkar road for example)? Have they asked BBMP to show that they have maximised throughput by engineering?

We deserve judgements like this because we have people who dont have a long term strategy in place for the city & yet there are a vast majority of people who cant see beyond their nose on material comforts like their car& a path for that thru everybody else's houses & trees. 

I challenge this judge to give up his car & take public transport for the rest of his life. I am sure his judgement after that will be completely different. I am sure first thing he will do is sue BMTC for not having a timetable & then go after GoK for not having commuter rail.

Ravi_D's picture


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+1 Sanjay.

It is crazy. We don't misunderstand our constitution. We mis-wrote our constitution. Executive branch tries its hands at legislation. Members of the legisture execute (and whenever possible, try their best not to legislate). And Judiciary is into problem solving, making legislation and policing!

Majority of the Citizens don't seem to understand (and/or care) for any of the above.

Anithasunil's picture

If this is the way forward,

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If this is the way forward, can we file a case against GoK, for not starting Commuter rail? Wold the court give a ruling asking them to start it asap?

ramesh_mbabu's picture

If the cash-for-bail-scam is an indication,

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we are worser than the so called banana republics!

Just waiting to see if the judiciary handles the scam any better than the one handled by executive & legislature.


sanjayv's picture

Agree Ravi

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Yeah, I completely agree.  There is no separation.  When vexing problems come up, I think the executive branch simply does not do anything hoping that somehow it will get resolved in court.

I was reading this statistic the other day which said that almost all legislation in India is written by the government / ruling party.  In other words, bureacrats write all the bills. It is insane!


idontspam's picture

Who will bell the vision cat?

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I dont think the elected reps are doing any better in deciding how we should be lliving. Below is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with BBMP.

The crucial points which would have minimized the parking demand and traffic on roads have been sent back to DULT. For example, BBMP has trashed proposals like proof of parking space before registering the vehicle, discouraging parking for more than two hours in central business districts and roads which have good communication through public transport, stopping parking on streets in residential areas and charging higher parking fee on weekends and peak hours


How do you resolve this? If you went to court, what will they say? Judges will say we cant do anything, there are so many cars that they need to be parked on the road. Is that the solution? Here are well studied perfectly visionary solutions from DULT which are being trashed, who is accountable for these decisions?

murali772's picture

more participation - the only answer

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The answer perhaps lies in this exercise. A group of RWA and Civil Society representatives, under the aegis of Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF), met the new BDA Commissioner, Mr P S Kharola, IAS, for a preliminary round of discussions on the process of evolving the CDP-2035. I must record that I found Mr Kharola very attentive and wholly appreciative of the suggestions put forth, and, with him at the helm, I expect the process should be a lot for meaningful this time around than in the earlier times.

There was, in fact, an overall consensus on preparing a detailed vision document first, before getting into the nitty-gritties of planning.

Of course, it may be said that, even the last time, the 'P S S Thomas committee' had done a fair job of consolidating all the suggestions of the RWA/ Civil Society groups, and making its recommendations based largely on them, which was then scuttled by the politicos to serve their personal interests, from which the question will arise as to how such things can be prevented from happening again. Well, the answer to that can perhaps be that the government and the politicos are today fully aware that the RWA/ Civil Society groups have become a lot more involved and active, and with the courts breathing down the necks of the wrong-doers besides, the better option for continuing in power may be to engage with the people in a more meaningful way.

We have to live on hope. So, let us from our side, put in our best.

Muralidhar Rao
blrpraj's picture

Devere gati!

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When the courts lose the plot; Devere Gati! (as in all instances when hope is lost.). comment guidelines

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