white black legal international law journal ISSN: 2581-8503

Peer-Reviewed Journal | Indexed at Manupatra, HeinOnline, Google Scholar & ROAD



Authored By-Kumari Monika


 Before writing on this topic I would like to dictate the meaning of Pothole. Pothole means a hole in a road surface that results from gradual damage caused by weather or traffic. So Pothole death means death causes due to falling in pothole. Pothole death is now common for our country. In this research Article, I got a FIR Report of a person who has suffered due to negligence of government In making road. The person had lost his child and his wife got alot of injuries.

Now accidents  have become very common these days. Either it is negligence in work or the other is corruption. All the responsible people save the money of the government not in the maintenance of the road, but for themselves.

Now when we see the status of death in 2018 due to pothole, it is increased in number. In 2018 the report said that 2015 pedestrian lost their lives due to pothole accident and 4869 accident took place on road due to pothole.

In this Article, I have given some of my opinion and recommendations to prevent from this life taking accident.


The national highways are designed, constructed and maintained as per Indian roads congress guidelines and the others roads are as same rules by other organizations, but due to poor maintenance, low quality construction, heavy traffic or water logging there are dents or borrow pit on the roads, its called pothole.

Potholes play a vital role in road in accident in India. Supreme Court observes that In latest survey of 5 years the death of 15000 people in road accident caused by pothole and it is unacceptable. This clearly indicates that authority is not maintaining the roads properly.[1]

Potholes took a deadly toll in 2017 claiming almost 10 lives daily with annual fatalities in the country adding up to 3597 a more than 50 percent rised over the toll for 2016.[2]

The bench examines a report filed by the Supreme Court committee on safety of road headed by former apex court judge justice K. S Radhakrishnan, which said 14,926 people died due to pothole from 2013 to 2017 across the country. The bench also observe that Municipal Corporation, National highways authority of India or state road department would be responsible for these deaths as they would not maintaining the road.

The bench also observed that no compensation is paid to the victims for this tragedy and the legal representative of deceased have to live with unforeseen tragedy due to lack of concern shown by authorities.[3]

The magnitude of the problem can be understood from the fact that the terrorist activities in India, naxal attacks included, claimed 803 lives, including that of terrorists, security personnel and civilians in 2017.

After hearing the case related to road safety, the court said that the person who lost their life due to pothole accident is entitled to get compensation or in hit and run case.

According to the latest official figures given in the Rajya Sabha, 2015 people lost their lives in 4869 road accident caused by potholes in year of 2018 while 4108 people were injured.

Statewise Data Of Road Accident Caused By Potholes

According to data shared by state with the centre, U.P logged most such death at 987.Three other states that have fared poorly are MAHARASHTRA (726), HARYANA (552), and GUJARAT (228).

MAHARASHTRA has shown substantial improvement in bringing down the number of death due to road accident caused by potholes.[4]


Justice for Pavitra

On Feb. 10, 2014 Manoj Wadhwa was riding a bike on NH2 Faridabad with his wife Tina and 3 year old son Pavitra. Manoj spotted a pothole and try to take a brake but his bike got slipped and his son Pavitra hit a stone on his chest and a vehicle runs over his wife legs.

Manoj takes his wife to the hospital while some other person takes his son to another hospital where he was declared dead. Due to pothole both lost his child.

Now Police filed a report claiming that it was a hit and run case. Manoj asking for help to various authorities like Haryana Government, National Human Rights Commission, National Highway Authority of India as well as Police but no one responded him. Frustrated Manoj with the sloppy investigation, he moved to the Punjab and Haryana High Court in quest of justice.

Government directed the Faridabad police to set up Special Investigation Team in August 2018.Now Faridabad police filed a report saying that SIT had found the director and project manager of Larsen & Toubro & Delhi Agra Toll Road Private Ltd. responsible for the condition of road.

According to the report six accused have been charged with causing grievous hurt and causing death due to negligence under section 173 of CrPC and section 279,337,304A of IPC.

His lawyer also pointed out that the family spent more than 24 lacs on treatment of Tina. Finally Mr.Wadhwa told TOI that this fight is not for my son only but it can also prevent the future risk of accident. The practice of giving compensation of Rs 4-5 lacs is not the solution but government should end the matter by fixing such obstacles.

Another Case of 2018, a women and a six month old baby were reported killed when the bike they were riding pillion on skidded on a potholed road in Dadar. The family of four on the bike was thrown off and crushed by an incoming water tanker.

Oddly enough the police thought it fit to arrest the tanker driver, but not to take any action against those who are responsible for filling potholes on the roads.

Law For It In Present Situation

- The existing law for road safety, motor vehicles act has no provision to ensure responsibility of road authorities for defect in engineering, design and maintenance of roads.

- Now the provision of fine against officials has been made in the motor vehicles amendment Bill 2017,considering high number of deaths due to faulty design of road, poor maintenance and negligence in fixing problems.

- In present situation the bill is stuck in Parliament due to frequent disruption in proceedings. The legislation doesn't clearly spell out how to book authorities.

What It Ought To Be

According to my opinion-

1) Government should initiate criminal proceedings against the road designers instead of paying only compensation to the victims and it also put check on the type of material used in the road construction Or designing.

2) Secondly the relief which is given to the victims after seeing various documents like CCTV FOOTAGE or EYEWITNESS is stop being mandatory but the law should be that the authorities themselves go and check the condition of road. So that victim does not have much burden and they can get justice as soon as possible.

3) Thirdly, there should be a law for regular inspection of roads and manhole, so that the Government will aware about the condition of potholes and manholes should be covered so that no further accident arises.

Apex Court Decision

The bench of Apex court observed that many authorities such as the municipal Corporation the national highways authority of India, concessionaire working with them or the state road department would be responsible for the death as they were not maintaining the roads.

Challenges Faced By Victims In Pothole Deaths Or Injury For Their Quest Of Justice

I read a case of BRUHAT BENGALURU MAHANAGARA PALIKA which agree to pay compensation or relief to the victims of pothole deaths or injury but they also keep condition that the victims must show some necessary documents such as CCTV FOOTAGE or EYE WITNESS that the accident that happened due to pothole, not any other reason.


The ministry of road transport and highways has issues a new directive to the state based on a petition in the Supreme Court to  suggest way to compensate LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE of the victims. The compensation will have to be directed towards cases where death is resulted by poor condition or lack of maintenance of roads by local authorities.

The new policy will have to hold local bodies or public works department in state responsible for negligence.


Date-26.02.14, Time-19:40 Hrs

Police Station (Place)- Faridabad

Investigating Officer -

Name of the Complainant- Smt. Tina Wadhwa

Offender [name (either govt. or company)]-director and project manager of Larsen & Toubro & Delhi Agra Toll Road Private Ltd.

How was it Informed- Smt. Tina Wadhwa w/o Mr. Manoj Wadhwa

How was it acted upon-upon- Firstly it was turned into hit and run case but Mr. Wadhwa went to high court for the quest of justice and high court found the accused.


Police molded the facts according to them and instead of making the director and project manager of Larsen & Toubro& Delhi Agra Toll Private Limited guilty and framing charges against the same they had try to put the entire burden on the driver of unknown vehicle as hit and run case. Police has tried to mislead the case and put their hardest effort the move the facts of the case on some different track which would amount to prejudice the justice to the victim. Here Mr. Wadhwa can complaint against the police also under section 191 and 209 of IPC.

Simply Police would have proceeded further and would have taken action against the construction company who was liable to construct and maintain the highway road for the use of general public. Charges of fraud cheating and breaching of contract can be levied against the company.

And also charges of causing grievous hurt and causing death due to negligence under sec 173 of CrPc and section 279,337, 304A of IPC can be charged against accused company and driver of CrPc and section 279,337, 304A of IPC can be charged against accused company and driver of of the vehicle.

Right thing done in this case is that the some accused have been charged under the IPC and CrPC and compensation is announced and the victims demand for fixing the future tragedy cause compensation is not only the solution. Life is more important.



The main reason for the potholes is rapid weather changes. Potholes are such a big problem because it's end the life and damage of vehicle easily depending on how severe the potholes are. A good solution for this big problem is to pave with a different material such as asphalt or concrete. Concrete is made of stronger material which can handle more traffic and lessen the chance of creating new potholes.

Another way to fixing the problem of potholes is work with honesty in first time so that you will save money in future and pleasing the community.


- Most effective way to deal with potholes is to prevent them from happening if possible.

- Second follow the rules that PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.

- It should be recommended to the Prime minister that all the incoming construction will be done live and it will be checked from time to time by the Inspector.

- All local contractor should be replaced instead of them work should be done under government employees.

- Quality of material should be checked from time to time.

- Police should take strict action against whom who is driving car or bike when they drunk. Police should also do the 1 month imprisonment to the person who is not wearing seat belt or who drink and drive instead of taking fines only.

- The Government should keep an eye on the police not to be corrupted and it should be strictly investigated.

- Government should improve and enhance the drainage system on roads.

- Local highway authorities need to communicate to the public what is being done and how it is being done.

Solution To Decrease The Number Of Death In Such Case.

-  People awareness through civil society initiative.

- Information through RIGHT TO INFORMATION ACT 2005 .

- To make responsible authorities commenting on the situation road safety experts said negligent officials should be booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder under IPC.


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