High Court has directed the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to seal 27 shopping complexes in malls in Srinagar that have failed to restore parking facilities.
The direction followed after the counsel for Srinagar Municipal Corporation through a status report informed the court that out of 31 commercial complexes, 27 complex owners have failed to restore the car parking facilities and sealing orders were issued against these complexes on October 17, 2015.
Hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on traffic mess in Srinagar, a bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey observed that owners of commercial complexes and shopping malls have been permitted to raise such constructions on furnishing of undertakings to the effect that they will provide parking facilities within such premises. “But the same are reported to have been put to commercial use and parking fee is being charged.”
In respect of other eight complexes, it is stated that these buildings are under construction. “In these constructions no provision of basement car parking has been maintained and the construction is being raised in violation of the permissions granted,” the Court said directing sealing of these complexes till action under law is taken for demolition.
It was observed that it is for this reason that customers visiting such commercial complexes or shopping malls are forced to park their vehicles on the roadside leading to traffic congestion and inconvenience to the general public.
“In view of the material produced on record, it prima facie appears that these owners of shopping complexes, shopping malls have violated the permissions granted to them. The SMC is under statutory obligation to initiate action against these shopping mall owners which includes demolition of these buildings. Till the action in accordance with law is taken for demolition of these buildings, the Corporation shall seal all these buildings and report compliance within a week’s time to the Registrar Judicial of this Court,” the Court directed.
“The Commissioner, SMC shall be personally responsible for executing the order of the Court. In order to facilitate sealing of these commercial complexes or shopping malls, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Range, is directed to provide all necessary police protection to the SMC. The owners of these commercial shopping complexes are directed not to offer any resistance to the sealing of their complexes. Violation of this order would make them liable for committing contempt of the Court,” the court ordered.
“It is provided that in the areas which are covered by the Municipal Corporation Act and Municipal Act, the permissions for raising the commercial complexes shall be granted with the provisions of providing car parking facilities within the building itself. No permission shall be granted without ensuring that car parking area is provided within the commercial complex.”
Observing that “authorities right from Prime Minister down to peon hold their posts in trust for benefit of the people, every authority is bound to discharge its duty to secure the overall welfare of the people, the court said, “It is deemed appropriate at this stage to direct Transport Commissioner and IGP Traffic, to appear in person before this Court on next date. The said authorities shall come up with suggestions so as to alleviate the sufferings of the people in general and commuters in particular to which they are subjected to because of the traffic congestion.
“In order to ensure that people in general and pedestrians in particular are not subjected to inconvenience in using the foot paths, IGP, Traffic, and DIG Traffic are directed to ensure that no vehicle is parked on the road side and ensure that vehicles are parked at the places earmarked for the purpose. All the vehicles which are parked in violation of the laws shall be seized and action taken in accordance with law. Compliance report be filed by these authorities by next date,” the Court observed.
“All the Traffic Magistrates across the State shall be provided necessary staff assistance by the State Government. The Chief Secretary of the State shall ensure providing of the necessary paraphernalia wherever request is made by the learned Traffic Magistrates. Compliance report in this behalf be also filed before the next date,” it added.