The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to take immediate steps to repair the facilities at Children’s Park, at India Gate, and the Lake Park near Sarojini Nagar to “ensure that children of Delhi have safe playing areas.”
The Children’s Park lies in a dilapidated condition, with its broken swings and damaged and rusted slides. Although there is a budget allocated for the maintenance and upkeep of the playground, it has taken a strongly worded letter from a Supreme Court Judge to galvanise the civic agencies into action.
The High Court took suo motu cognizance of a letter sent by Justice Kurien Joseph of the Supreme Court. In the letter, Justice Kurien noted that he had visited the two parks with his family, only to find that the parks were in a dilapidated condition, with “potholes and rust on the slides” and damage to other swings. The letter also stated that the ground was muddy and not properly maintained, and children were getting injuries from the damaged swings.
“There is serious violation of human rights of children” the letter said, adding that children had the fundamental right, “in their tender times, to have a decent environment to play and frolic around”.
The High Court bench of acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul on issued notice to the three municipal corporations, the NDMC, Cantonment Board, the Delhi Development Authority and the Public Works Department to file a status report regarding all children’s parks under their jurisdiction. The civic agencies have been directed to submit photos of the parks along with the reports.
The court also directed the NDMC to take immediate steps to repair the facilities at parks in India Gate and Sarojini Nagar, observing that there was “no need for a study of these parks as a Supreme Court judge had already given a detailed report”.
The civic agencies have been directed to file their status reports within two weeks.
Senior Advocate Nidhesh Gupta has also been designated the amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter. The Court directed Gupta to take a tour of the parks once the civic agencies had submitted lists of all parks in the city.