In the Matter of V.D. Satheesan MLA v. State of Kerala, a plea filed by two Congress leaders seeks to stop the public from paying fines in order to delay the deployment of a fully automated traffic enforcement system for Safe Kerala. The Department of Transport’s “Safe Kerala Project,” which involves implementing technology-enabled services with the goal of precisely and efficiently increasing traffic mobility in Kerala, was something the State Government of Kerala sought to put into practice. The project supposedly sought to increase transparency in the State’s handling of public affairs.
Analysis of court decision
The Kerala high court division judge bench justice S.V.N. Bhatti and Justice Basant Balaji directed the respondents not to make any payment under annuity until further orders of the Court.
The Court noted that the current petition, which was purportedly filed in the public interest, challenges the administrative sanction for implementing the Fully Automated Traffic Enforcement System and FMS, offers for the supply of electronics modules, AIC modules, ANPRC modules, vehicles for mobile enforcement systems, supply installation and commissioning of CCR, DCRs, field installation, etc. by Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd. As stated, the petitioners did not object to the “Safe Kerala Project” being implemented, but they did question the openness of the decision-making process for using the technology-enabled services for traffic problems.
As the leader of the opposition and an elected member of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, the petitioners in the current public interest litigation, the court said, “desire transparency, accountability, and complete probity in the discharge of the public trust reposed by people.” The petitioners were asked to develop the standard they live by and uphold in public life and demand the same standard from responses in the decision-making process. The Court argued for zero tolerance for corruption and transparency. The Court determined that the instant PIL required examination for changes in project dynamics to determine whether these changes were tainted by any additional collateral reasons and whether the exchequer was forced to pay out more money than was originally planned. The Court ordered the respondents to hold off on making any annuity payments until further instructions of the Court, noting that the model project has been reproduced since 5/6/2023 at other locations in the State. The subject in question will be heard again on July 13, 2023.