Saturday, March 19, 2011
HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD
Court No. - 44
Case :- PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION (PIL) No. - 16907 of 2011
Petitioner :- Km. Bharti Kashyap
Respondent :- State Of U.P. And Others
Petitioner Counsel :- Ranjit Saxena
Respondent Counsel :- C.S.C.,A.S.G.I. (2011/519),Sudhir Bharti
Hon'ble Imtiyaz Murtaza,J.
Hon'ble Shyam Shankar Tiwari,J.
Present petition has been preferred by the petitioner claiming to be a public spirited person who is rattled by recent events of blocking the Railway tracks by Jat Community resulting in inconvenience to the General Public and disruption of rail traffic in the State of U.P.
The reliefs sought in this petition is for a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to take reasonable action as per law for ensuring that the Railway Track blocked by the Jat Movement may be opened for the smooth movement of the Railways in U.P.
When the court resumed working, a mention was made by Sri Ranjit Saxena Advocate, to take up the petition regard being to the urgency of the cause also mentioning that the courts are closing for Holi vacation. At that time, the Court asked the petitioner to make a request before Senior Judge for taking up the matter today itself. The matter has again come up before us after Lunch and it appears that the Senior Judge acceded to the prayer of the learned counsel on ground of urgency.
It is argued by the learned counsel that the Jat Community has resorted to blocking the rail traffic seeking reservation in the Government Jobs and as a result, the traffic flow between Lucknow and Delhi via Bareilly, Moradabad is lying blocked and the movement of trains is disrupted between the areas and as a result, number of trains have been canceled or diverted. The learned counsel has also adverted attention to the resultant loss to the Railways approximating to Rs 100 crores. According to estimate, 66 trains were cancelled on 16.3.2011 and as many as 19 trains were diverted on the said date. It is argued that in the 7th Schedule of Union list Railway falls in the union list and under item no 30 carriage of passengers by Railways including goods is the responsibility of the Union of India and in the State list 2 Schedule 7, the public order is item no 1 and the police the item no 2. It is argued that no action has been taken by the State Government as well as by the Union of India in attenuation of the resultant hardship to the general public and therefore, it is prayed that the petitioner is compelled to invoke the jurisdiction of this Court in the larger interest of the General public.
It is submitted that the Jat community commenced their movement on and around 5th of March 2011 and more than 15 days have since elapsed no end to the hardship of the general public is in sight. It is indeed shocking to the conscience of the Court.
Our country is a democratic country where duties and rights of the citizens have been defined and guaranteed in the Constitution. Every citizen is expected to act as a disciplined citizen within the parameters of the procedures prescribed and also on the basis of rule of law. Our society is based on rule of law and unruly action or behaviour to force the Government for enforcing the demand causing inconvenience to the public in general is not a constitutionally approved scheme of things. The citizen of this Country is free to protest and air and ventilate their grievances but not at the cost of convenience of the General Public.
The Additional Government Advocate Sri Zafar Nayyar appeared for the State and argued that the Railway has its own force and it being a matter pertaining to Railway track, it does not lie within the scheme of things of the State Government to do anything beyond such precautionary measures. He stated that the State Government has taken certain precautionary measures and passed on the responsibility of breaking stalemate at the end of the Union of India.
The learned counsel for the petitioner at this stage, drew attention to a statement aired by various channel and newspaper in which Chief Minister is stated to have supported the Jat Movement and argued that this has given oxygen of publicity to the Jat Community which have expanded the area of their movement. It is argued that this has resulted in aggravation of the situation.
It brooks no dispute that law and order is the subject of the State. If the movement is peaceful, it breaches no law. If movement results in inconvenience by disrupting movement of rail traffic, it certainly falls within the domain of the State Government to restore normalcy and to facilitate smooth flow of movement of trains.
Certain recent instances have not yet faded from public memory and the recent one is the incident which occurred in Bareilly during recruitment drive at CISF camp Bareilly. In the said incident too, the police was caught unawares. To a little back during Gujjar Andolan in Rajasthan, similar situation arose resulting in huge loss to the Exchequer of the Railways besides untold hardships to the general public. In all these instances, the ultimate victim is the general public.
Since it is a matter involving inconvenience and hardship to the general public lasting over more than 12 days, the courts cannot be expected to act like a mute spectator and therefore, it is directed that the matter shall be listed on 29th March 2011 on which date Director General of Police U.P or any officer of equal rank who can make authoritative statement on his behalf shall appear and make a statement before the court about the action plan to allow unhindered flow of railway traffic.
A notice be also issued to General Manager Railways at Lucknow and Delhi to respond by the date fixed.
In the meanwhile, interim mandamus is issued to the Director General of Police, to take immediate measures to clear the railway tracks and provide full protection for smooth movement of trains and report compliance by the next date fixed in the case.
The Director General of Police shall also update the Court as to what action has been taken by him so far against the people who have blocked the Railway tracks, and further how many cases were registered against the persons and what is the result of investigations.
It is further directed that the Railways shall also announce restoring normal traffic on the lines in between the Lucknow and Delhi and shall also make its own arrangement for security of Railway Tracks and passengers. Sri B.P. Pal, Advocate has accepted notices on behalf of the respondent no 7.
The office is directed to provide a copy of the order to Addl Advocate general State of U.P and also to Counsel for Union of India for compliance forthwith without delay.
Order Date :- 18.3.2011