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Open public roads in Secunderabad Cantonment: Ministry of Defence to Army

Open public roads in Secunderabad Cantonment: Ministry of Defence to Army
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Open Public Roads In Secunderabad Cantonment: Ministry Of Defence To Army. In the past your esteemed publication The Hans India has covered the hardship being faced by residents of the twin cities, specially those living in colonies abutting Secunderabad Cantonment, by the road closures and restriction placed on roads in the Cantonment.

In the past your esteemed publication The Hans India has covered the hardship being faced by residents of the twin cities, specially those living in colonies abutting Secunderabad Cantonment, by the road closures and restriction placed on roads in the Cantonment.

Ministry of Defence had issued directions No. 4(2)/2015-D (Q&C) Govt. of India Ministry of Defence, dated 07.01.2015 to the Chiefs of all three forces and to the Director General of Defence Estates that public roads in Cantonments all over the country which were closed without following due procedure, be reopened forthwith. A copy of the Ministry's orders are attached herewith for your reference.

These orders have not been implemented in Secunderabad, and also in several other Cantonments in the country. In response to a RTI query the local military authorities is Secunderabad have replied saying that the orders do not apply to the closed roads since the roads are internal roads of the Army and not public roads.

It boggles the mind as to how roads which have been open to the public for over a century can suddenly become internal roads of the army.

  • This goes against legal precedents defining public roads.
  • The army's claim of these being internal roads of the army also flies in the face of the fact that it is Secunderabad Cantonment Board - a public body - which maintains, illuminates and provides conservancy services on these roads.
  • The army's stand also goes against rulings of the Karnataka High Court in WA 3549/1997 (upheld by the Supreme Court) holding Army authorities closure of certain roads by the army in Belgaum Cantonment as unconstitutional. While ordering reopening of the roads the Karnataka HC observed that road closure and restrictions contravened the Right to Freedom of Movement enshrined in Article 19 (1) (d) of the Constitution. This judgement also made the very important observation that public roads even on on A(1) Defence Land are NOT, by themselves, A(1) Defence Land. The judgment is available for reference at the Karnataka High Court web site at http://judgmenthck.kar.nic.in/judgments/handle/123456789/648881


In Secunderabad the army has offered no relief to citizens of the twin cities despite appeals to them by citizens and elected representatives. Rather, more and more restrictions are now being placed in the form of additional gates being constructed and movable barriers being placed at several new locations in the Cantonment.

Aggrieved by all this, a Writ Petition (No WP 11707/2015) has now been filed in the High Court praying for the implementation of the Ministry's orders. The first hearing took place on 22 April 2015, in which the Court asked the response of the Government and Cantonment. The next hearing is listed for 1st May 2015.

On behalf of the residents of the twin cities I request you to kindly cover this important issue related to hardships being faced by hapless residents of the twin cities.

By Pankaj Sethi
10, Sylvan Greens
Yapral
Secunderabad 500087

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