The Human Rights Court has fixed Monday, May 4, 2015 to determine the case brought by the State against the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and 10 others over the licensing and use of commercial and public omnibus vehicles without emergency exits.
That was after the counsel for the DVLA, Mr Ankomah Mensah, had called on the court to grant it sometime to meet with the plaintiff and other parties to work out amicable arrangements towards the resolution of the issue.
The parties, therefore, agreed to meet on April 16, 2015 following which they would proceed to the court on May 4, 2015.
Case to be ended
The Presiding Judge, Mr Kofi Essel Mensah, agreed to the arrangement and said the case had travelled for a long time and expressed the hope that on the next adjourned date, proceedings would be brought to an end.
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He had at a previous sitting considered and not given an immediate order for those vehicles to be grounded, considering the likely adverse economic implications on national development.
The case was instituted in 2011 but the DVLA and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) had been intransigent and had failed to appear in court, compelling the court to order the plaintiff to file a writ of mandamus following which a default judgement would be given if those parties still failed to make appearance.
The original action had been brought by a Tema-based public servant, Mr Kwabena Osei, against the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the IGP and 10 others for flouting the law requiring commercial omnibus vehicles operating in the country to have emergency exit doors.
The 10 others are the State Transport Company, VIP, Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), O & A Transport, Metro Mass Transit, J. A. Plant Pool, Progressive Transport Owners Association (PROTOA), Mariset Company Ltd (M Plaza), National Insurance Commission and the Attorney-General.
Mr Osei had contended that it was provided under the law that an omnibus was supposed to be constructed to provide at least two entrances or exits for passengers, one of which should be an emergency exit as approved by the licensing authority.
He also held that the DVLA, the authority which was created by law to promote good driving standards in Ghana and ensure the use of roadworthy vehicles on the roads, was charged to ensure strict compliance with the Road Traffic Act 2004 and its regulations.
The police, whose mandate it is to enforce the said provisions for the construction of passenger-carrying vehicles, he added, had neglected the sanctioning of such offending motor vehicle operators and vehicles.
The offences complained of, he said, continued to occur on daily basis because the DVLA continued to inspect, test and register motor vehicles and issue vehicle registration certificates and vehicle examination certificates to the offending operators.
Mr Osei is seeking an order requiring the DVLA to examine all new and existing commercial vehicles and refuse to register and license any vehicle that did not conform to the prescribed requirements.
He is also seeking an order to ensure that any motor vehicle did not pose a danger to safety in relation to its entrance and exit for passengers.
Mr Osei is praying the court to order the police to strictly enforce the provisions of the law relating to the construction of commercial vehicles and to arrest, detain and prosecute all vehicle operators and passengers who flout the law.