The Delhi High Court Friday expressed displeasure over the Haryana government’s decision restricting movement of trucks from Delhi to Sonepat as well as movement of doctors, nurses and court officials, observing the order “constitutes an infringement” on rights of the citizens.
Justice Manmohan and Justice Sanjeev Narula also issued notice to the Centre and Haryana government and sought their response on the plea by O P Gupta, before the next date of hearing on May 11.
Gupta, who was arguing his case in person, contended before the court that in case the Haryana government “does not obey the orders and directions issued on April 15, 2020, by the Union Of India”, then it should direct the authorities concerned to deploy Para Central Forces at the border points so as to stop them from ‘illegal’ activities restricting the movement of essential supply of vegetables, fruits, milk, medicines and people who are permanently employed in Delhi”.
The petitioner raised concerns over the border points of Singhu, Tikri, Gurgaon, Aya Nagar and Badarpur.
He also stated before the court, during hearing of the petition through video-conferencing, that as “Sonepat is not only contiguous to Delhi but also a part of National Capital Region, a number of Delhi residents have to travel to Sonepat for essential work and similarly a number of Sonepat residents have to travel to Delhi”.
He submitted that the District Magistrate, Sonepat, has imposed blanket cross-border transit restrictions between Delhi and Sonepat and granted exemptions to only a few categories of government officials and for movement of goods not destined for Sonepat.
He also emphasised that even doctors, nurses and court officials who either reside in Sonepat or work in Sonepat are being prevented from entering/leaving Sonepat.
Taking note of which, the bench observed: “Prima facie, this court is of the view that the April 30, 2020, order of the District Magistrate, Sonepat, prevents and obstructs the movement of trucks from Delhi to Sonepat as well as movement of doctors, nurses, court officials etc. to and from Delhi to Sonepat.
“Accordingly, this court is of the prima facie view that the order of April 30, 2020, by the District Magistrate, Sonepat, constitutes an infringement of Articles 19(1)(d) and 301 of the Constitution of India especially when the entire national capital and Sonepat are not containment zones.”
Article 19 (1)(d) of the Indian Constitution guarantees to all citizens of India the right “to move freely throughout the territory of India”. Article 301 provides that trade, commerce in the country should be free throughout the country.
The bench further stated that “this court is also in prima facie agreement with the submission of the petitioner (Gupta) that the action of the District Magistrate, Sonepat, is contrary to the orders/letters dated April 15, 2020, April 30, 2020, and May 1, 2020, issued by the Union Home Secretary.”
The counsel for the central government maintained that they have issued revised guidelines on April 30, in which, all goods traffic have been allowed to ply.
The counsel for the Haryana government disputed and denied the contentions and submissions advanced by the petitioner.
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