Army action illegal, contends PIL in HC

| S.A. ISHAQUI
Published Feb 25, 2014, 6:25 am IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 9:42 am IST
Advocate files PIL, says no provision under the Cantonment Act to close the roads permanently.

 
Hyderabad: A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday seeking to declare the action of Army authorities in blocking the roads in the Secunderabad Cantonment area as illegal and unconstitutional. Wasim Ahmed Khan, a practicing advocate of the High Court, moved the plea contending that there was no provision under the Cantonment Act to close the roads, except temporarily for the purpose of carrying out works relating to drainage, water supply etc. as per Section 258 of the Act. He told the court that Section 258 (2) of the Act stipulated that the Board should not permanently close any street without  prior permission of the general officer, comman-ding-in-chief or the principal director. In case the Board wanted to close a street for security reasons, it should give public notice inviting objections and suggestions from the general public.
He alleged that even in the past, defence authorities had illegally put up barricades on some roads as per their whims and illegally restricted entry of the public by interfering with the eas-ementary and prescriptive rights of ingress and egress of citizens. In fact, the defence authorities had already blocked roads by erecting iron bars/gates and providing limited entry near Sainikpuri, Alwal, Ramakrishnapuram and Lalbazaar.
Mr Khan said that in the current case, it was not the CEO of the Board but the Army that was illegally closing the streets and preventing the entry of citizens without calling for objections and suggestions from the general public. Referring to Section 256 of The Cantonment Act 2006, he told the court that it was the duty and responsibility of the Board to develop and maintain the roads. Instead the respondents were bent upon completely closing the roads. He argued that under Article 19(1) (d) and Arti-cle 21 of the Constitu-tion, citizens had a right to enjoy the roads and also to have Right to Life.
Citing the hardships caused to civilians due to closure of the roads, the petitioner annexed news reports carried by the Deccan Chronicle as exhibits to his plea. Mr Khan brought to the notice of the court that he had submitted a representation to the CEO of the Board on January 3, 2014 to widen and repair the existing roads apart from removing the barricades on the existing ro-ads created by the defe-nce authorities. He said that no reply was given to his representation nor did they take any action.

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Location: Andhra Pradesh




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