The National Highways Act, 1956

The National Highway Act came in to force on 15th day of April, 1957, earlier the National Highways Bill, 1956 been passed by both houses of Parliament and received the assent of the President on 11th September, 1956 and Act came in to force. As roadways been a main element to the developed country, Country like India should maintain a proper Highways. Act came in to existence to maintain a proper Highways by creating border to States, there by states maintain a proper highways within their borders.

The National Highway Act, 1957 consists of 50 Sections, Central Government for proper function of the Act established the Highway Administration under Section 3. Administration consists of one or more officers of the Central Government or State Government, Central Government by notification in the Gazette establishes one or more Tribunal to exercise functions laid. Tribunal consists of one person who called as the presiding officer and officer exercise his function under the supervision of Central government and it been the role of Central Government to appoint any other officers to assist the functioning of Tribunal as laid in Section 9. Tribunal has power and jurisdiction to entertain appeals and directions by the Highway Administration laid under Section 26, 27, 28, 36, 37 and 38 and Tribunal as a power that of Civil Court in executing the matters as specified in Code of Civil procedure, 1908 and it shall appoint certain person to perform functions under highway Administration.

All rights of Highway casts up on the central Government as all lands forming part of highway property been vests with Central Government as specified under Section 23, No person has the right to occupy the land on highway without obtaining permission from authorities under Highway Administration. Authority authorized under Highway Authority may grant lease to any person of highway land for temporary use for a extended term of five years and Authority makes periodical inspection on highway land to check the status of highway occupation and if Authority found any unauthorized occupation of land it may remove restriction by giving notice.

Highway Administration limits the access of its usagers and vehicles by limiting as no person has right to access to the Highway as specified under Section 28 but general permission given under Section 28(1). Any person can claim specific permission by making application to the Highway Administration and Administration after going through the application can provide the license to usgaers to make access to particular highway.

Chapter V of the Act deals with the Regulation of different types of traffic on National Highway as the Highway has the authority and power to regulate the rules with regard to Highways, Highway Administration has the power to control of vehicles and prohibit any kind of heavy vehicles on the highway as highway as not have the ability to carry such vehicles. Highway Administration by notification in the Official Gazette has the authority to close or stop traffic on Highway on temporary or permanent basis, Administration  do the stoppage of traffic by circulating the stoppage  in the newspaper as prescribed on Section 33 and 34. To help the public and considering their safety and usages of vehicles, Highway Administration restricts the usages of vehicles in certain roads based on the road conditions and erect traffic signs and structures. As Highway Administration has role to provide clean roads without any disturbances to the vehicle user’s responsibility laid on Administration to repair the roads and if any person willfully cause damage to the highway Administration has authority to recover sum as compensation as dealt under Section 27.

As per Section 38, no person other than Highway Administration has the right to construct on a highway land which includes the work used for public utility services like installing, repairing polls, pillars, electric and cable wires, roads etc.,. Any person who have intent to acquire or in need of land on Highway for the purpose of construction can make application to the Highway Administration under 38 (2), Highway Administration after considering application shall give permission to occupy land which laid for public utility and while providing permission Highway Administration impose certain restrictions to person to not to obstruct and damage the Highway and the land be removed from person who in contraventions of provisions.

Person who unauthorizedly occupies land on highway without prior approval made under the provisions of the Act shall be punishable to the term of one year as dealt in Section 39 and offence as dealt in Section 39(1) which comes under the term of cognizable offence as dealt under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Central Government may however be able to remove difficulties under Section 49, when it think it is unnecessary for certain provisions to deal with the Act and it however has power to make rules for carrying out the purposes laid under the Act. Every rule issued by the Central Government regarding the matters connected with the salaries paid to the employees of a Tribunal, the form of notice and cost for making and altering the construction under Section 26 (2) & (8),  placing or removing the traffic signals under Section 35.

As Act however constituted Administration and Tribunal to deal with the matter connected to highways, but the Act did not reach the goal because of existence of improper co-ordination. As Act allocated Central and State Government to do their part of work on development of highways, both the Governments failed to their duty bound on them due to trans boundaries problems.

by Priyadarshini Chandrasekar