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SC holds RDA not responsible for Passara bus accident in 2021

24 November 2023 09:04 am - 7     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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COLOMBO (Daily Miror) - In rendering its judgment, the Supreme Court held that the respondent parties including Road Development Authority (RDA) have not violated fundamental rights of the petitioner in connection with the Passara bus accident which occurred in 2021 which claimed the lives of 14 passengers, while leaving 35 individuals injured.

Three children and their grandparents filed this Fundamental Rights petition against the action and inaction on the part of the RDA to prevent this accident which caused their parents’ death.

While ordering to dismiss the Fundamental Rights petition, the Supreme Court held that the respondents are not in violation of Article 12(1) of the Constitution.

On March 20, 2021, at about 6.45 a.m., a private bus plying from Lunugala to Colombo with around 60 passengers went off the road and fell into a precipice of about 250 feet near the 13th milepost on the Lunugala-Passara Road.

The petitioners claim that the most prominent cause for the death of their father and mother was the actions or inactions or omissions on the part of the RDA and therefore alleged that the fundamental rights of the parents of the petitioners have been infringed by the respondents.

The petitioners state that the road had been partially obstructed due to a boulder which had fallen onto the road due to a landslide about four months prior to the accident.

The petitioners have also admitted the fact that the negligence of the bus driver resulted in the deaths of their parents and submitted that if not for the inactions or omissions of the respondents, this accident would not have happened. Therefore, the petitioners claim that the respondents, who have a prime duty or responsibility for the maintenance of the roads.

The Supreme Court observed that when considering the facts and circumstances of this case, it could be seen that the RDA has since the day of the landslides, taken steps to clear the roads with more than 40 landslides.

The explanation provided by the RDA as to why they were unable to remove the boulder at the very instance of the landslide; the fact that a normal blasting of the boulder would have been very risky and if they had removed it during the monsoon season it would have caused a potential threat to the houses that were atop the hill, shows that they have looked into this matter with caution, taking into consideration all the other situations which could arise.

Counsel for RDA submitted to court they had taken necessary precautions to warn the public, and they have placed ‘drive slow’ warning signs at the double-bend, they have also erected poles with illuminating stickers and yellow tape, which can be seen in the photographs.

With Justice Preethi Padman Surasena and Justice Janak de Silva agreeing, Justice Priyantha Fernando decided to dismiss the petition without cost.

Counsel Thusitha Wijekoon appeared for the Petitioners. Deputy Solicitor General Lakmali Karunanayake appeared for the respondents.


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  Comments - 7

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  • M S A Mihraj Friday, 24 November 2023 10:04 AM

    RDA should take care all the hill slopes which are at high risk of failure adjoining the road ways to be protected to prevent future accidents.

    Don't be silly, be reasonable Friday, 24 November 2023 02:50 PM

    There is no solutions when there is lack of funds. The sooner the military is cut back, along with government work force the more money to fix things. This in turn might mean retrenching RDA employees too. Or how else do suggest there is cash to fix up roads?

    Rod Friday, 24 November 2023 10:17 AM

    Now days the bus drivers are driving to kill Other road users are struggling to drive due to this idiots that taken the law to their own hands majority are unsuitable to carry passengers heavy Risk takers they seems not even worry for own safty government must crack down this fellows and take them off the roads its petty no one does anything may be blind frighten or otherwise public transport drivers should be thought duty of care for passengers other road user's safe driving etc.. increase trafic police on busy roads trafic light's crossing etc heavy fines for dangerous driving and other dangerous offences speeding overtaking

    Ram Friday, 24 November 2023 10:48 AM

    Sad, They should have gone against the driver for the insurance to pay. Now it could be too late for that

    Shehan W Friday, 24 November 2023 11:16 AM

    What kind of judgement was this?? The rock had been on the road for four months and the RDA has to be held responsible for not clearing it for 4 months. Simply putting sign boards cant take their responsibility away. Do these judges have a conscience??

    Lankan Friday, 24 November 2023 09:26 PM

    Excatly my thought too...

    Nalin Gooneratne Friday, 24 November 2023 03:41 PM

    The damages done by the RDA is immense. They do not use the available funds well and always says insufficient funds. People should get together and collect facts and file cases. The judges have to give the verdict on the evidence. The RDA escapes on insufficient evidence.


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