Shimla (Jan 11): Taking strong note of the administeration in Shimla allowing parking of tourist vehicles on a sealed and restricted road in the city, the green bench of Himachal Pradesh High Court today slaped a show-cause notice to the former seeking explanation within seven days for relaxation of local road norms.
The green bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol mentioned that the court had been dealing with the problem of vehicular traffic in Shimla, especially with regard to implementation of the Shimla Roads Users and Pedestrians (Public Safety and Convenience) Act, 2007. “We were shocked to find that on 31st December, 2011, vehicles were parked on the sealed and restricted areas. Not only this, vehicles were also parked in the core area of Shimla town from Shimla Club to the Lift. There was, in fact, double parking on this road. On inquiry, we were told that some orders have been passed by the district magistrate and the superintendent of police, Shimla, permitting the tourists to park their vehicles in these areas/roads.”
The court further said: “Prima facie, we are of the view that any such permission was in total contravention of the aforesaid Act. All officials of the state are bound by the Constitution of India and the laws framed thereunder. On a perusal of the Act, we find that under Section 18 of the Act, it is only the state government, which may, in public interest, relax any of the provisions of the Act for reasons to be recorded in writing for a period not exceeding seven days at a time. This power of relaxation is not even available to the state as far as the core Mall Road area is concerned. If the state does not have the power to relax the provisions for the core Mall Road area, we fail to understand how the district magistrate or the SP could have relaxed the provisions of the Act and granted permission to the tourists to park their vehicles in the core Mall Road area.”
The court has now directed the district magistrate as well as the SP to be present in the court on January 13, 2012, on which date they shall produce the entire record and shall also file written replies stating therein under what circumstances they had passed such orders and permitted the vehicles to be parked in sealed/restricted roads and the core Mall Road area.