Load Test Controversy: Legal Perspective

Explore the intricate legal analysis of a case revolving around the debate on conducting a load test for a flyover, as per the High Court’s directive. Expert opinions and court rulings play a crucial role in determining the path forward in ensuring the structural integrity and safety of the infrastructure.


  • A load test as specified in IRC 112:2011 was not proposed by IIT Chennai.
  • A Writ Petition was filed by Respondent No.1 in the Kerala High Court against the G.O.
  • After one year of use, the Consultancy Agency for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways reported that the flyover was in a distressed condition with several cracks, recommending rehabilitation measures.
  • The flyover was constructed by Respondent No.1 and inaugurated on 12.10.2016.
  • The Committee reviewed IIT reports and the Sreedharan report, concluding that the tests carried out by IIT Chennai were in line with IS codes and IRC recommendations.
  • IIT, Madras recommended a carbon fibre fabric composite treatment for repair instead of demolition.
  • Dr. E. Sreedharan recommended demolition and reconstruction of the bridge for durability in his report to the Chief Minister of Kerala on 03.07.2019.
  • The findings of IIT Chennai were accepted and relied upon due to its premier and reputed status.
  • Experts involved in the assessment included engineers and a Senior Structural Engineer of the PWD.
  • Dr. E. Sreedharan proposed a construction plan with a 100-year service life for the flyover.
  • A High Level Committee consisting of five members was set up by the State Government to address differing opinions.
  • The Committee noted that certain girders exceeded crack width limits, affecting load test compliance.
  • IIT recommended a load test after strengthening the flyover, but did not mention the post-strengthening service life.
  • RBDCK will hand over the bridge site to DMRC free of encumbrances and pursue compensation from the contractor.
  • The Finance Department will allocate funds based on a detailed estimate for the rehabilitation work.
  • The Committee emphasized extensive strengthening needs for the Palarivattom flyover based on IIT Chennai findings.
  • The State Government accepted the Committee’s recommendations and the offer from DMRC for rehabilitation.
  • The Kerala High Court considered the original tender terms and various reports, including allegations of corruption.
  • A vigilance enquiry revealed numerous cracks in the girders and pier caps of the flyover.
  • Dr. E. Sreedharan’s proposal for demolishing and replacing the superstructure was more expensive than the IIT strengthening scheme.

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  • The contractor and consultant believe a load test is necessary to determine if the structure needs to be demolished.
  • Government authorities are against a load test and prefer demolishing based on existing cracks.
  • The contract mandates a load test to ensure the bridge’s strength.
  • The petitioner must bear the cost of the load test.
  • The process should be completed within three months.
  • An Expert Committee supported the government’s decision based on expert opinions.
  • The High Court suggested conducting a load test before demolition to avoid further controversy.
  • The High Court decision focused on the need for a load test rather than judicial review for possible violation of Article 14.
  • The High Court advised the government to consider the load test results before finalizing demolition plans to protect stakeholders’ rights.
  • The Government shall conduct a load test of the Palarivattom flyover.
  • The test shall be conducted through an approved qualified agency with the capability to conduct such a test.
  • Notice of the test shall be given to all stakeholders involved.

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  • The judgment of the High Court has been set aside, along with the review judgment.
  • The appeals have been allowed as per the mentioned terms.
  • Pending Writ Petitions in the High Court should be disposed of within six months from today.
  • The aforementioned directions have been issued as a result.

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Case Number: C.A. No.-003239-003246 / 2020

Click here to read/download original judgement

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