High Court has directed the Government to place before it the policy decision and appropriate rules with regard to registration of vehicles in J&K lacking parking spaces. Observing that despite the status report noted in previous order on the issue, no further action has been taken by the authorities of Transport Department as the department was required to place the consideration of policy and appropriate rules.
Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta directed the Principal Secretary, Transport Department to place positively the consideration before this court and compliance of the previous order before the next date of hearing.
Petitioner counsel has drawn attention of the court to the contents of previous order on the issue in which court had extracted the report of the Principal Secretary, Transport Department. Awaiting the decision of the Government on notifying the policy on the issue, court said it had put the responsibility on Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir to ensure that all the roads are made free from parking.
Petitioner counsel informed the court that he has also placed before the authorities the ‘Urban Congestion Enquiry Report’ which was submitted before the Parliamentary Committee of British Parliament. The proposals and suggestions, he submitted before the court deserve to be considered by the authorities while making their policy and rules on vehicles which are lacking parking spaces. Court asked the counsel to provide the report to Principal Secretary, Transport Department as well as their counsel within five days to make deliberations on such report.
With regard to dealing with hindrances and inconvenience of general public as well as commuters in the city of Jammu on account of indiscriminate parking of vehicles, Inspector General of Police has apprised the court via his status report and made submission before the court with regard to imperative need for designation of proper parking places.
He submitted that locations for road side parking have been identified by the traffic police authorities, Jammu Municipal Corporation, Jammu Development Authority and placed the list of such parking spaces on record for perusal of the court. Petitioner counsel submitted before the bench that instead of taking comprehensive view in the matter, the authorities are making adhoc suggestions which will not address the basic traffic congestion issues.
“We find the reference to the difficulties created in the COVID-19 management issues by the authorities in the status report. Interest of Justice requires that immediate steps for decongestion of traffic be taken” court said. “We, therefore, permit the authorities, for the time being to utilise the site identified for parking slots at Jammu”, the DB added.
Court has already on tackling with the day today traffic mess in Srinagar city and its adjoining areas approved the category of parking plans proposed by the committee headed by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir. The minutes of meeting was held under the chairmanship of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir with Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Vice-Chairman SDA, Commissioner SMC, Chief Engineer PWD Kashmir, SSP Srinagar, Regional Transport Officer Kashmir, SP Traffic city Srinagar and SP Traffic Rural
The committee had categorized the parking plans in four categories viz Existing Parking, Development of Parking Slots, Road Side Parking and Private open land parking and declared them A, B, C and D category respectively. For Category A Rs 20 has been fixed per hour, Rs 30/ has been fixed for per day on monthly parking for category B and Rs 100/ has been fixed for Category C parking on daily basis.The DB had directed the Divisional Commissioner Jammu also to implement the directions in Jammu Parking slots on the same analogy and regulate the paid parking slots in the same manner. Court, however, made it clear that no roadside parking shall be available for day and monthly basis while as the authorities make it available for the hourly basis parking.
Asking about the policy with regard to registration of vehicles which are lacking private parking spaces, the court was informed the erstwhile state has been declared as J&K and Ladakh UT and the same comes under the control of Centre as there is not policy in vogue with J&K Government.
Court in view of the submissions has arrayed Ministry of Transport Government of India through its Secretary and issued notice to him which was waived by the Union Counsel for filing of response indicating therein as to whether there is any policy on the issue.
The Government of J&K was under direction to formulate a policy with regard to regulate the registration of the vehicles by imposing condition in the registration norms to the extent of asking the owner who intends to have vehicle registered with the transport authority for availability of parking at his (owner’s) residence.