Federation says open SCB\'s A1, C roads after GHMC merger

HYDERABAD: The Federation of North Eastern Colonies of Secunderabad (FNECS) on Saturday said all public roads which pass through the Secunderabad cantonment should be brought under the GHMC jurisdiction as and when merger of SCB civilian areas is done. The federation said its stand was boosted by a defence ministry decision to keep the roads open, and certain papers on the matter that it had secured via an RTI query.

The FNECS demand covered roads recorded in the general land register (GLR) as A1 or C, and assigned survey numbers that were different from those assigned to adjoining land parcels.

The federation released information provided by the ministry of defence (MoD) to its RTI query, which included communications between the Army Headquarters (AHQ) and the MoD.

According to the FNECS, the AHQ had on October 20, 2021, directed all commands to close A1 roads for public use. It cited a Hyderabad High Court decision of September 2014 in support.

The MoD, on November 15, 2021, advised the AHQ to keep its direction in abeyance and directed it to comply with the MoD instructions of September 4, 2018. Following this, the AHQ asked the commands to allow public use of A1 roads, the FNECS said while quoting from the RTI reply.

The federation said that way back in June 15, 1938, a document (Lr No 554-R4/D4) had clarified Rule 5 of Cantonment Land Administration Rules (CLAR), 1937 and said only those roads maintained by the Military Engineering Service (MES) were to be included in A1, over which public had right of way.

If a road was listed as A1 in the GLR, it was admitted to being a road over which the public had right of way. Further, Rule 3 of CLAR 1937 stipulated that roads on which the public had the right of way were to be given survey numbers different from those assigned to land parcels adjacent to such roads.

The FNECS said that roads over which public had right of way were “streets” under the Cantonments Act 2006. As per Section 258 of the Act, only the Cantonment Board could close “streets.” Therefore, unilateral and arbitrary closure of such roads by military authorities was illegal, the federation stated. It added that in a 2015 judgment (WP 18086/2014), the Allahabad High Court had held that A1 roads were streets.

The federation said that many roads closed by the local military authority (LMA) were classed as A1, and assigned survey numbers different from adjoining land parcels. These roads were therefore acknowledged to be roads on which public had the right of way. The remaining closed roads were listed as C category — under the Cantonment Board — and were roads on which the public had right of way.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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