By: Ravinder vasudeva
Shimla: Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the Shimla Municipal Corporation to remove encroachments from the bazaars of Shimla town in a phased manner. The Bench also directed that no civil court in Shimla will entertain any proceedings or pass any stay orders with regard to encroachments and the aggrieved party may approach the high court for redresal.
Division bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Surender Singh Thakur appreciated the officers and officials of the Municipal Corporation for implementing the orders of the court and removing encroachments from Mall road and lower Bazaar of Shimla. The court said that such drives to keep public property free from encroachments and streets clean should not be a one time affair and must continue in future and no encroachments should be permitted.
The court added that the entire Shimla town should remain free from encroachments and directed the corporation to remove encroachments from Sanjauli, Chotta Shimla, Ram bazaar and the bus stand, Tutu, Khalini, Kasumpti and Lakkar Bazaar as well as roads connecting circular roads to the Mall Road of Shimla town on priority basis.
The court took strong exception to slogan shouting by few encroachers and said that this would amount to contempt of court and the officials of the MC would be treated as acting on behalf of the court and no one shall obstruct them from performing their duties. Court also observed that MC officials would act fairly in execution of the court orders. The judges added that MC may give 48 hours time to shopkeepers on their written undertaking to remove the encroachments.
The court also accepted the application of the Vyapar Mandal and impelled them as respondents to the petition. The court said that no shopkeeper would allow any hawker to sit in front of their shop. Court added that shopkeepers would make complaint of such hawker to MC, failing which it shall be presumed that the hawker is sitting with consent of the shopkeeper and he would be liable for contempt of court.
Court said this order would not be applicable on Sundays as market remains closed on these days. The court expressed displeasure over functioning of the Heritage Advisory Committee that failed to give a single suggestion for uniform facades and sign boards in Shimla town. The court asked the committee to give specific suggestions for shops from CTO to Combermere Bridge on Mall Road by September 30, 2009. The court also asked secretary, TCP, to submit suggestions of Kamal Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute before the next date on affidavit.
Court also directed the special magistrates and MC officials to ensure that they visit the areas in question especially lower Bazaar, Ram Bazaar, on regular basis at random at least twice in a week. Court said that if they found any violation of MC laws they shall take action and inform the court about offending persons.
The matter would now be heard on October 5, 2009.