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Freedom Of Movement A Constitutional Guarantee, Should Not Be Hemmed-In By Lack Of Requisite Civil Amenities: Delhi High Court

Nupur Thapliyal
19 Nov 2021 9:15 AM GMT
Freedom Of Movement A Constitutional Guarantee, Should Not Be Hemmed-In By Lack Of Requisite Civil Amenities: Delhi High Court
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The Delhi High Court has observed that the constitutional guarantee of citizens' freedom of movement as enshrined in the Constitution should not be hemmed in by the lack of civic amenities. "While freedom of movement is a constitutional guarantee, it should not be hemmed-in by the lack of requisite civic amenities. Citizens need to be empowered and facilitated in the enjoyment of...

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The Delhi High Court has observed that the constitutional guarantee of citizens' freedom of movement as enshrined in the Constitution should not be hemmed in by the lack of civic amenities.

"While freedom of movement is a constitutional guarantee, it should not be hemmed-in by the lack of requisite civic amenities. Citizens need to be empowered and facilitated in the enjoyment of their constitutional rights, for which provision of basic civic amenities is essential, like a safe and secure neighbourhood, tree-lined avenues and footpaths, where an endeavour of a leisurely stroll is actually a pleasurable exercise and not an obstacle-dodging, harrowing experience," Justice Najmi Waziri said.

The Court was dealing with a plea highlighting the inaction of the authorities for preservation of trees in city's Vasant Vihar area.

The Court had sought response of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Police over concretization of hundreds of trees after observing that the municipal corporation allowed the callous affair to fester for years.

Perusing the photographs brought on record by the SDMC, the Court was of the view that the same showed that efforts were made by the Municipal Corporation in order to rectify the anomaly qua the lack of care of trees in the area.

"The court is assured that the efforts will continue in right earnest so that public amenities, like clear footpaths, are made available in their fullest, for all users," the Court said.

The counsel representing Delhi Police submitted that all assistance will be given to SDMC for carrying out the court's directions as also for the removal of encroachments or obstructions on footpaths and other public places.

"Let another affidavit be filed by the SDMC before the next date in this regard. The Tree Officer, GNCTD too shall assist in every way possible and shall either be present at site or depute a senior officer in the exercise proposed to be carried-out by SDMC," the Court directed.

The Court added that the remedial measures must be initiated in right earnest and that all concretization beyond the road and the walking-paths be removed from the earth.

"To ensure the usability of the footpaths, the Executive Engineer/ Assistant Engineer/ Junior Engineer of the SDMC, shall traverse the entire colony's footpaths on a wheelchair without any aid or assistance from anyone. This will test the efficacy of the SDMC's efforts to make the streets and footpaths user-friendly," the Court said.

Observing that citizens must be empowered and facilitated in the enjoyment of their constitutional rights and basic civic amenities, the Court also said:

"…Instead, people would use motor-vehicles, adding to the city's ever-burgeoning traffic congestion and unmitigated air pollution. So, it all starts with taking care of the neighbourhood trees and greenery and ensuring that the footpaths winding through the tree- shaded avenues are obstacle-free. Let this exercise be carried out preferably before the next date."

The Court also directed that photos of each stretch so repaired, restored and made user- friendly shall be filed showing the before and after conditions while also taking the petitioner into confidence.

"A senior officer of PWD shall coordinate with the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, SDMC, and shall be present at site on all dates when the exercise of removal of encroachments and restoration of trees is undertaken by the respondent. PWD shall also take remedial measures apropos streets maintained by it," the Court added.

While posting the matter for further hearing on November 26, the Court directed that a compliance affidavit be filed before the next date of hearing.

The petitioner was represented by Advocates Aditya N. Prasad and Dhriti Chhabra.

Case Title: BHAVREEN KANDHARI v. GYANESH BHARTI & ORS

Click Here To Read Order


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