Taking up a petition filed by The Amritsar Tea Traders’ Association and 27 other market associations, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday issued notice regarding stay to the Punjab government as well as the Amritsar Municipal Corporation on the decision to completely stop movement of vehicles in markets around the Golden Temple area.
The vacation bench comprising Justice M Jeyapaul and HS Sidhu directed the authorities to file their response to the petition by July 11.
The petitioner associations have sought setting aside of the resolution passed by the Amritsar Municipal Corporation on August 7 last year which the petitioners have alleged had been passed in willful violation of the constitutional rights of the petitioners to carry out their business in the area. A prayer has been made to issue directions to the concerned authorities not to restrict the right to movement of the petitioners by putting barricades on the public streets.
Petitioner associations have also sought directions to the authorities to immediately remove the encroachments from the pavements near to the Golden Temple area. It has been submitted that the area under question is deeply commercial besides being residential which has atleast 2,000 shops. Markets in this area have wholesale business of clothes, dry fruits, grocery, tea, jewelry, utencils etc. It was also submitted that there are around five schools, three colleges, 10 private hospitals, around 100 hotels and more than 60,000 registered votes in the area.
The manner in which the the restrictions are being imposed without taking the residents, traders’ associations, educational and medical institutions in the area into confidence for alternative ways, this decision is absolutely uncalled for and illegal, the court was informed.
It was informed that various representations have already been submitted to authorities since last year that in case of emergency, even ambulance cannot enter within the area on account of permanent barricades.
It has been alleged that since the state assembly elections are due in 2017, “on account of political considerations and political dictates and to please some segments of the society”, the authorities are putting permanent fixtures and sand barricades in public streets.