Delhi HC urges police to look into police restrictions

Delhi HC directs police to look into traffic restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch

The Delhi High Court directs the police to look into traffic restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which has been closed for a month due to protests against the amended Citizenship Act while keeping in mind the larger public interest

Protestors participate in a demonstration against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and NRC at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi. (PTI PHOTO)

The Delhi High Court Tuesday directed the police to look into traffic restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which has been closed for a month due to protests against the amended Citizenship Act while keeping in mind the larger public interest.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the police to look into the issue while also keeping in mind that law and order are maintained.

The court passed the order while disposing of a PIL filed by advocate and social activist Amit Sahni seeking a direction to the Delhi Police Commissioner to lift restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch and Okhla underpass, which were closed on December 15, 2019, for ongoing protests against CAA and National Register of Citizen (NRC).

It was a temporary measure but has been extended from time to time.

The Kalindi Kunj stretch is vital as it connects Delhi, Faridabad (Haryana) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh) and commuters are forced to take the Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) Expressway and Ashram, which is causing hours of traffic jams and wastage of time and fuel, the plea said.

The court said: "We hereby direct the concerned respondent authority (police) to look into the restrictions on usage of road -- Kalindi Kunj- Shaheen Bagh Stretch, that is, Road No. 13 A (between Mathura Road and Kalindi Kunj) as well as Okhla underpass, in accordance with law, rules, regulations and the government policy."

It further asked the authorities to look into the issue keeping in mind "larger public interest" and also maintenance of "law and order" situation.

The court refused, however, to direct the authorities to look into the issue in a time-bound manner.

During the hearing, Sahni said the road closure is causing huge inconvenience to lakhs of commuters every day and they are compelled to take different routes for last one month.

He said children, who take that route, are compelled to leave home two hours prior to school timing.

The petition claimed that the authorities have failed to take appropriate action to give relief to the residents of the locality and lakhs of commuters of Delhi, UP and Haryana.

It said the petitioner has given representation to the authorities on January 3 but no action has been taken till date.

Besides Delhi Police, the plea had made the Centre and the Delhi government as parties, seeking from them requisite assistance to the police in addressing the issue.

Due to the heavy traffic on alternative routes, it takes 15-20 minutes for people to cross just one traffic signal at Ashram, it said.

Citing several news reports, it said that on an average, Ashram Chowk is used by around 30,000 vehicles every day. With the Kalindi Kunj road closure, an additional 1 lakh vehicles are flowing through the intersection.

The high court, on January 10, had refused to entertain an application, in the form of a letter, seeking directions for removal of demonstrators protesting the CAA at Shaheen Bagh here in order to clear road blockages that are causing traffic congestions at the DND route. 

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