Illegal parking on footpaths and public streets
IFP Editorial: In many parts of Imphal, one will find vehicles parked in the main roads and leikai roads.
Recently, the Karnataka High Court ruled that illegal parking on footways and public streets will amount to violation of Fundamental Rights under Article 21. The Karnataka High Court has held that it is the duty of the authorities to ensure that the footways and public streets are kept free of obstructions, including illegal parking thereon. It is also their responsibility to ensure that violations of the aforesaid provisions of law are not taken casually and criminal law is promptly set in motion.
The division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj, relying on the order passed by the court on 31st July 2019 in W.P.No.42927/2015, said “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. 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.” The court has also directed the state government and the traffic Police Department to make effective implementation of the provisions contained in Sections 117, 122, 127, 177A and 201 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, on a complaint made by a citizen or otherwise. If any violation of the said provisions is made, apart from taking action of removal of illegally stopped, parked or abandoned vehicles on footways, criminal law must be set in motion immediately. It is indeed a landmark judgment and the same procedure could be applied here in the state.
Sometime ago, locals of Chingmeirong Maning Leikai, Imphal East protested against the illegal parking in front of the Vishal Mega Market at Chingmeirong and complained to the Deputy Commissioner for taking up appropriate action to tackle the ‘public nuisance’ caused by Vishal Mega Mart, Chingmeirong under Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The complaint stated that Vishal Mega Mart does not have parking facilities for its staff and even for the customers who visit the mall. As such, vehicles mainly cars are being parked haphazardly on both sides of the road stretching up to a half kilometre, obstructing smooth flow of traffic around the mall area. It is a clear violation of the Section 70 of the Imphal Municipal Council Building Bye-Laws, 2013 for parking space. It is not the case of Vishal Mega Market alone, but of almost of all every commercial establishment in Imphal city. Instead of availing their own parking spaces, these commercial establishments encroach upon the footpath also for display of their wares and the adjacent public road for parking of their staff vehicles and of the shoppers. So, pedestrians are forced to walk in the middle part of the road as the portion next to the footpath were blocked by parked vehicles. This puts the lives of the pedestrians in danger.
In most cities across the country and around the world, it has been made mandatory for every commercial establishment to create their own parking spaces. Roadside parking have been banned almost everywhere, in an effort to decongest the roads and facilitate free flow of traffic. We are of the opinion that, roadside parking should be banned not only in the commercial zones, but in residential areas also. In many parts of Imphal, one will find vehicles parked in the main roads and leikai roads. Perhaps, the time has come for the government and municipal authorities to enact a law to prohibit vehicle parking on all roads and to make it mandatory for every vehicle owner to have own parking spaces for their vehicles in their Ingkhols or rent commercial garages.