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'Will They Hang On Strings?': Delhi High Court Refuses To Entertain 'General PIL' For Removal Of Police Booths From Footpaths

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
27 April 2022 10:22 AM GMT
Will They Hang On Strings?: Delhi High Court Refuses To Entertain General PIL For Removal Of Police Booths From Footpaths
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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a public interest litigation, seeking removal of police booths allegedly built on footpaths meant for public use. A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla observed that it is open to the Petitioner to raise grievance against any particular booth which is causing obstruction to...

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a public interest litigation, seeking removal of police booths allegedly built on footpaths meant for public use.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla observed that it is open to the Petitioner to raise grievance against any particular booth which is causing obstruction to public movement. However, it is not inclined to pass a general direction in this regard.

"Police is for protection of people. This is a public requirement; they need to be present in public areas and for that they need booths in public areas. If any particular booth is causing hindrance to pedestrians or traffic, that can be removed. But how can you say as a matter of principle that there should be no booth. Will they hang it on a string?"

The development ensued in a PIL filed by a NGO namely 'Jan Sewa Welfare Society', claiming that construction of police booths on footpaths/ roads by Delhi Police has resulted in grave inconvenience to the general public.

The predecessor bench of the High Court had in February refused to entrain this matter. The Respondent authority, appearing on advance notice, informed the Court that back then, the plea was withdrawn unconditionally.

Whereas the Petitioner sought to argue that the instant litigation is substantially different, the present Bench expressed its disinclination to hear the same, keeping in view the circular dated 7 September, 2020 issued by the Delhi Police in pursuance of directions issued in Bejon Kumar Misra v. Union of India (WP(C) 9384/2019).

In the aforesaid case, the Respondent authority was directed to frame comprehensive guidelines for regulating the establishment of the police booths/kiosks. It had observed,

"It ought to be kept in mind by the concerned respondent authority that the police booths/kiosks must be constructed in such a manner that the least possible hindrance may be caused to the public at large. It goes without saying that while rendering the sovereign functions, the individual difficulties are not to be seen at all."

Accordingly, the instant petition was dismissed as withdrawn with liberty to raise grievance on any public booth which according to the Petitioner is causing obstruction on pedestrian way.

The Bench made it clear that if any representation in this regard is received, the Commissioner of Police will look into the same and if the grievance is justified, remedy the same. The representation so received shall be responded to by the Delhi Police in 4 weeks.

Case Title: Jan Sewa Welfare Society v. Union of India & Ors.

Citation2022 LiveLaw (Del) 375

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