The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and the state government on a PIL alleging discrimination against the Muslim-dominated localities of Sarkhej ward. The plea alleged that the Muslim localities were not provided basic civic facilities such as drinking water, drainage, street lights and disposal of garbage.
The High Court ordered the AMC and the state government to file their replies in four months. The petitioners — activist-cum-lawyer Amrish Patel and Musebhai Khatumbara — moved the court, saying that the local authorities through notifications in 2006 extended the limits of Ahmedabad city in which several municipalities namely Bodakdev, Makarba, Nava Odhav, Nikol, Vastrapur, Nava Naroda, Thaltej and village panchayats Sarkhej, Vejalpur, Jodhpur, Memnagar, Ghatlodia, Chadlodia, Ranip, Kali, Vastral, Ramol were merged and brought under the AMC.
According to the petitioners, after the merger, the AMC started collecting municipal taxes from the residents, but those living in Muslim-dominated localities were not provided basic civic facilities. Sarkhej and Makarba are the two areas where a large number of Muslims have settled since 2002.
“While the residents of one community are provided all the civic facilities, the residents of another community are deprived of the basic civic amenities. This action on the part of respondents is arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of Article 14 and Article 15,” the petitioners said.
The petition mentioned that town planning scheme No.84B has been finalised by the AMC, but it was not implemented in the Muslim-dominated localities. It claimed that “under this scheme a pucca tar road having width of 9 m is to be laid from Jagruti High School to Adani School. Underground drainage line, pipeline for drinking water, storm water line, street lights etc. are also provided under the scheme. Unfortunately, the TP Scheme 84B has not been implemented in the Muslim areas. It has been implemented in other areas.”