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Right to have streets including footways in a reasonable condition falls under the ambit of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution: Karnataka High Court

If the footways or public streets are encroached upon in any manner including by parking of vehicles, it will amount to violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Suraj Govindraj while adjudicating the matter in DS Ramachandra Reddy v. Commissioner of Police & Ors [WRIT PETITION NO.13736 OF 2019 (GM-RES-PIL)]; dealt with the issue of  illegal parking on public streets and footways

The petitioner who is also a member of the Bar, had filed a public interest litigation inviting the attention of the Court to the encroachments made on foot paths/ footways in a particular location in the city. The second prayer is for making a particular street for one-way street and the third prayer is for ensuring that all road signals are erected. He stated that several times orders to make certain changes in the city area had been passed, however, with passage of time and due change in the present set of officers, the successors do not take any action to complete the project of their predecessors. A large number of photographs are placed on record of the footways (popularly known as footpaths) which are being used for parking of two wheelers and four wheelers. In fact, the report submitted by the Member Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority also shows that the footways are being used for parking of vehicles and particularly two wheelers and there are other encroachments on the footways.

A large number of photographs are placed on record of the footways (popularly known as footpaths) which are being used for parking of two wheelers and four wheelers. In fact, the report submitted by the Member Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority also shows that the footways are being used for parking of vehicles and particularly two wheelers and there are other encroachments on the footways.

The Court upon considering the aforesaid facts stated that after perusing the various provisions of law dealing with dealing with the use of footways and footpaths, stated that it is it is the statutory obligation of the BBMP to properly maintain public streets by carrying out repairs and improvements thereto. The Bench hence ordered that the aforesaid provisions put forth by the petitioner must be duly implemented and stated the judgment that ;“Apart from the statutory right created in favour of the citizens under the Municipal laws due to corresponding obligation to maintain the streets and footways in a reasonable condition, this Court has held that a right to have streets including footways in a good and reasonable condition will have to be held as an essential part of the fundamental rights conferred on the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Thus, it follows that if the footways or public streets are encroached upon in any manner including by parking of vehicles, it will amount to violation of fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India as held by this Court.”

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