Updated: September 10, 2021 5:08:46 am
In the ongoing hearing in the Supreme Court on the issue of a uniform parking policy in Gujarat, the Transport Department of the state has now told the apex court that the policy can be framed only by “authorities having special knowledge of urbanisation” and the task does not fall under the purview of the Transport Department.
In an affidavit filed before the top court Wednesday, Additional Chief Secretary of the Ports and Transport Department, MK Das, has also stated that the state government has already implemented compounding fines for those violating the no-parking rules in the state.
The affidavit submitted by Das is in response to the Supreme Court directive of September 1, where the division bench of Justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose had directed the Home Department, Urban Planning Department, and the Transport Department to file affidavits before the next date of hearing slated for September 14. The SC is hearing the Special Leave Petition challenging a 2019 order of the Gujarat High Court making parking at commercial spaces free for all.
In the affidavit, Das said, “The urbanisation and related subjects are quite complex and the subject of expertise and therefore, it is required to be dealt by the authorities having special knowledge and powers i.e. the Urban Development and Urban Housing Department, Home Department, Local authorities and so on…”
“Therefore, the parking policy and implementation, thereof, is not within the purview of the Transport Department… the department has a supportive role in the implementation of the parking policy… and will extend its full cooperation to the Urban Development and Home departments and issue necessary instructions for implementation of the directions and guidelines issued by the said departments to resolve parking and traffic problem as and when required,” the affidavit added.
The affidavit also cites Section 117 of the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), 1988, which says, “The state government or any authority authorised on this behalf, may, in consultation with the local authority having jurisdiction in the area concerned, determine places at which motor vehicles may stand either indefinitely or for a specified period of time, and may determine the places at which public service vehicles may stop for a longer time than is necessary for taking up and setting down of passengers.”
The affidavit also cites the Gujarat Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, which says that such a person of authority can be either the Commissioner of police or the District Magistrate in places that do not have a police commissioner.
The SC had observed, “It cannot be disputed that traffic problem in the metropolitan cities in the State of Gujarat is a very serious issue because of non-availability of public parking and even sufficient parking spaces in the malls and other markets. The citizens are compelled to park on the road. There is no uniform policy and/or guidelines and/or notifications issued by the State Government.”
Giving the state government “a last chance on September 14″, the SC also said, “There cannot be any different policy decisions for different Corporations. The Government has to come out with common guidelines or notifications under the Town Planning Act or under the General Development Control Regulations (GDCR)”.
The Gujarat government has told the court that it is keen on adopting the parking policy of the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) as the common parking policy.
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