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Gujarat High Court Registers Suo Moto PIL To Regulate Road Discipline & To Give Shelter To Weaker Section

Akshita Saxena
29 Jan 2021 6:49 AM GMT
Gujarat High Court Registers Suo Moto PIL To Regulate Road Discipline & To Give Shelter To Weaker Section
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The Gujarat High Court has registered a suo moto PIL to monitor certain important issues touching the life and liberty of the weaker sections of the Society, and also to deal with their valuable right to housing, right to shelter and right to life. Noting that the abovementioned fundamental rights of the weaker sections of the society are often defied, a Division Bench...

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The Gujarat High Court has registered a suo moto PIL to monitor certain important issues touching the life and liberty of the weaker sections of the Society, and also to deal with their valuable right to housing, right to shelter and right to life.

Noting that the abovementioned fundamental rights of the weaker sections of the society are often defied, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ashutosh J. Shastri registered a PIL titled 'To Regulate Road Discipline And To Give Shelter To Weaker Section'.

The development comes days after a tragic and disturbing incident which happened in Surat, where an empty dumper truck ran over migrant workers, killing 15 persons on the spot including 8 women and a one-year old girl child.

The Court also took on record a letter-petition, seeking action in this matter. The letter moved by Senior Advocate Anshin H. Desai highlighted important issues that requires the Court's attention, vis-à-vis the Indian Constitutional and the fundamental rights and duties entailed therein:

  • Right to Housing, Right to Shelter is recognized as a valuable right under Article 19(1)(g) along with Right to Life under Article 21.
  • State and Municipal Corporations have constitutional and as well as statutory duty to provide residential accommodation to poor and indigent weaker sections by utilizing urban vacant land available under the Urban Land Ceiling Act.
  • Because of large scale development in infrastructural projects carried out by the government and also large scale constructions activities by private developers there is a continuous, consistent and large inflow and outflow of migrant labourers along with their families from neighboring states as well as other states and due to this influx of rural population into urban areas and consequent growth of encroachment, local bodies should also prepare plans in accordance with Article 243¬G and Article 243-W of the Constitution of India.
  • The Twelfth Schedule (Article 243-W) deals with planning for economic and social development roads and buildings and slum improvement and upgradation.
  • Migrant construction workers and their families are required to be accommodated in temporary accommodations with basic services and social infrastructure nearby the project sites.
  • What is required to be examined is availability and accessibility existing shelters for the homeless and accordingly setting up shelters in the cities.
  • Safety of children on construction site, their wellbeing is required to be looked after by the construction contractors and local bodies.
  • Several initiatives under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM), Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna can be taken shelter of for the purpose of temporary shelter to migrant labourers.

The letter also set forth the following suggestions, for consideration of the Court:

  • To create such a system whereby a person can click a picture or pass on the number of the offending vehicle and without disclosing the informant's identity, immediate action should be taken against the heavy vehicle driver and also the owner.
  • Instead of yearly fitness certificate, appropriate remedial measures be incorporated and directions be issued to renew fitness certificate after certain kilometers of running of the vehicle instead of yearly checking.
  • Impose regulation over private and public construction contractors to facilitate migrant labourers working under them for the purpose of housing and basic amenities and health and safety for their children.
  • All vehicles (truck, tractor, heavy vehicles) should mandatorily carry a service book with details of last service, visit book, fitness certificate with legible name and contact details of the person certifying it to be fit.
  • Fixing responsibility of the officer of the highest rank of the R.T.O. in case of vehicle found to be unfit without proper function brakes, lights etc.
  • There are several new District Collectors and therefore responsibility should be fixed on MLA, District Collector, Deputy Collector and Mamlatdar to account for any deficiency found in the vehicle.

Inter alia, issues pertaining to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 and the Gujarat Police Act, 1951 were also raised.

The Court has impleaded and issued notices several State authorities, seeking their responses by February 8, 2921. The Respondents are:

  1. State of Gujarat
  2. Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Home, Gandhinagar,
  3. Additional Chief Secretary, Ports and Transport, Gandhinagar
  4. The Commissioner, Transport Department, Gandhinagar
  5. Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment Department, Gandhinagar.

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