Saying that it is the responsibility of the police to manage traffic, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday disposed of an application seeking directions on the removal of barricades from Shaheen Bagh-Kalindi Kunj stretch, which has been closed since 15 December due to ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
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"It ought to be kept in mind that whenever any agitation or protest is going on, situation is like fluid – keep on changing looking to the temperament of the protesters and resistances by other people. Simultaneously, police has to maintain the law and order. Hence, the respondents have all power, jurisdiction and authority to control the traffic, wherever protests or agitations are going on, in the larger public interest. In such a situation, no specific writ, order or direction can be issued by this Court as to handle the agitation or protest or the place of protest and the traffic. It all depends upon the ground reality and the wisdom of the police, where situations may keep changing every 10 minutes," read the Delhi High Court order.
On Monday, the Delhi High Court had agreed to hear a PIL seeking to open Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch.
The petition, filed by advocate and social activist Amit Sahni, said the road closure is "causing huge inconvenience/hardship to lakhs of commuters every day and they are compelled to take different routes for last one month".
The plea was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar which listed it for hearing on Tuesday.
The petition sought direction to the Delhi Police Commissioner to withdraw the closure of Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh Stretch and Okhla underpass, which were closed on 15 December, 2019, for ongoing protests against CAA and National Register of Citizen (NRC). It was a temporary measure but has been extended from time to time.
The Kalindi Kunj stretch is quite crucial as it connects Delhi, Faridabad (Haryana) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh) and commuters who use these roads are forced to take alternative routes Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) Expressway and Ashram, which is causing hours of traffic jams and wastage of time and fuel, it said.
The plea said children, who take that route, are compelled to leave home two hours prior to school timing.
It claimed that the authorities have failed to take appropriate action to give relief to the residents of the locality and lakhs of commuters of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
Sahni said he has given representation to the authorities on 3 January but, no action has been taken till date.
Besides Delhi Police, the plea has made the Centre and the Delhi government as parties, seeking from them requisite assistance to the police in addressing the issue.
Due to the heavy traffic on alternative routes, it takes 15-20 minutes for people to cross just one traffic signal at Ashram, it said.
Citing several news reports, it said that on an average, Ashram Chowk is used by around 30,000 vehicles every day. With the Kalindi Kunj road closure, an additional 1 lakh vehicles are flowing through the intersection.
The high court, on 10 January, had refused to entertain another plea seeking directions for removal of demonstrators protesting the CAA at Shaheen Bagh here in order to clear road blockages that are causing traffic congestions at the DND route.
In December, 2019, a plea was filed in the high court by advocate Bajrang Vats seeking to remove physically challenged protesters from the periphery of Mandi House and direction to open roads affected by their demonstrations for general traffic.
The court had directed that the petition be treated as representation by the authorities and to be decided in accordance with law, keeping in mind the permissions given by the police to the protestors, effect on the traffic and inconvenience caused to the public at large.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2020 16:25:18 IST