HC notice to TN Govt, NHAI on PIL against cattle menace on highways

Chennai: The Madras High Court has issued notice to the Tamil Nadu government and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on a PIL against cattle menace on highways.

A division bench comprising justices T S Sivagnanam and Bhavani Subbaroyan issued notice on a PIL from Abinand Sreedhar.
“In our view the prayer as couched is inappropriate and cannot be granted. This is so because it is not the authorities who are permitting the cattle grazing. It is the villagers adjacent to national and state highways who bring their cattle and at times the cattle stray into the highways,” the bench observed.

Therefore, petitioner cannot seek a direction to the respondents to stop cattle grazing as they have not permitted it, the bench said.
The bench observed, “We might have been well justified in rejecting the writ petition. However, taking note of the concern explained by the petitioner, refrained from doing so, and grant liberty to the petitioner to give suggestions to the authorities.”

Liberty is granted to the petitioner to conduct an appropriate study of the entire issue and submit his suggestions to the authorities who shall consider the same and examine the feasibility of such implementations, it said.

According to the petitioner, permitting cattle grazing along the national and state highways has led to many road accidents.
“If the authorities concerned take action to prevent such illegal grazing on the highways, it would prevent accidents to a great extent which also endanger the lives of the cattle,” the petitioner submitted.
When the authorities collect user fee for such roads, they are duty-bound to prevent such cattle straying and protect the commuters using the highways, he added.
He also submitted that as per provisions of the National Highways Act whoever commits mischief by doing any act which renders such highways less safe for travelling shall be punished.

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