SC orders heavy bikes off motorways.

ISLAMABAD -- Heavy-bike riders have been refused permission to ride on motorways after the Supreme Court on Friday overturned a four-year-old high court order and said the government had rightly restricted motorcyclists under a law to ensure public safety.

Headed by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, a three-judge Supreme Court bench allowed the appeal moved by the Ministry of Communications and the inspector general of the National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP) against a decision of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued some four years ago.

In that Dec 10, 2018 verdict, the high court had ordered an improved standard operating procedure (SOP) to ride motorcycles on the motorway.

Setting aside the high court order, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, who authored the nine-page verdict, held that the motorway ban imposed on motorcycles under Section 45 of the National Highway Safety Ordinance 2000 (NHSO) was within the law and couldn't be construed as the violation of any fundamental right to life or liberty.

Top court sets aside IHC order, says govt may restrict any vehicle in specified area or road to ensure public safety, convenience

Besides, this section was not challenged before IHC as being ultra vires (beyond the powers) of the Constitution or the NHSO, he wrote.

Under the section, the government may prohibit or restrict the driving of motor vehicles or of any specified class of motor vehicles in a specified area or a specified road in the interest of public safety or convenience, the judgement said.

It said that the 'true purpose and exercise of powers conferred under Section 45 also encompasses the responsibility of supervision, superintendence and administration, including the power to restrict the entry of motorcyclists on motorways with the solitary cautiousness and intelligence of maintaining safety and protection vice versa'.

After the Islamabad-Lahore Motorway (M2) was constructed, the Motorway Police (now the NHMP) was empowered under the NHSO to regulate and control traffic and maintain order on national highways. Motorcycles are banned from entering M2 from day one.

The policy was reflected in Rule 202 of the Highways and Motorway Code, a government document containing road rules prepared in line with the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic signed in 1968.

The only exception to the ban was 500cc motorcycles used by the Motorway Police for patrols, but this exception was also discontinued for safety reasons and...

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