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With a view to address the rising problem of shrinking parking spaces, the Supreme Court today issued a series of directions to the concerned authorities of the Delhi Government. The Court observed in its judgment:
“The Golden Rule is “Love thy neighbour”. Today the social fabric of neighbourhoods is being torn asunder because of fights over this most petty issue of parking of vehicles. Therefore, we feel there is a need to pass a detailed order on a mundane issue like parking because this may impact town planning. Proper parking policies will also lead to less pollution, less crime and a better and more dignified life which every citizen is entitled to under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”
To alleviate the problem, the Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta also directed the government to notify the Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules 2019 (2019 rules) at the earliest, and not later than September 30, 2019. Broadly, these rules calls for the streamlining of parking spaces in Delhi.
Inter alia, the Supreme Court observed,
“One heartening feature of this policy is that in its order of priority, it gives first priority to pedestrians/cyclists, secondly to mass public transport; thirdly to emergency vehicles, fourthly to vehicles for differently abled persons their pick up and drop; then comes personal motor vehicle parking;”
After it took approving note of various provisions envisioned in the draft rules, the Court proceeded to remark,
“Once the rules are notified it shall be the duty of all concerned to ensure that the said rules are enforced in letter and spirit.”
In the meanwhile, the Bench also ordered that the following directions be implemented by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Cantonment Board.
Report on feasibility of expanding Lajpat Nagar pilot project for ease of parking
During the course of the judgment, the Court also took note of a pilot project taken up by the Government, wherein certain area has been earmarked in Lajpat Nagar to ease the problem of parking. Similar projects have also been proposed for Kamla Nagar in North Delhi and Krishna Nagar in East Delhi. The Court has directed the concerned authorities to evaluate the feasibility of the project and report back to the Court.
“The pilot project of EPCA started in Lajpat Nagar from April, 2018 and we expect EPCA to give us a detailed report of the working of the pilot project in Lajpat Nagar by 30.12.2019. We request EPCA to prepare pilot project(s) for Krishna Nagar and Kamla Nagar within two weeks, immediately whereafter such pilot projects will be started there. With regard to the working of such pilot projects let the report be submitted by 30.12.2019.”
The Court proceeded to inform,
“After the reports on the pilot project are received further directions shall be issued.”
While making the evaluation of these projects, the Bench also instructed the Government to factor in various other observations made in the judgment. This includes the Court’s observations made regarding the need to appreciate the fact that there are different parking requirements to be factored in depending on the kind of area in question. In this regard, the Court observed:
The judgment proceeds to highlight,
“Whether it be a transport hub, an institution or commercial area, each will have its own specific requirements and these have to be addressed by the planners and architects to ensure that adequate arrangement is made for parking of vehicles and the persons visiting these transport hubs, institutions, commercial areas are not forced to park on the roads or in spaces which are not meant for parking.“
Other measures that may be factored in to ease the parking crisis
Other observations made by the Court include,
The Court has now posted the matter next for October 4, 2019, by which date the 2019 rules are expected to be notified. On this date, the government is also expected to appraise the Court regarding the proposal to introduce RIFD tags, parking guidance and information systems and last mile connectivity from parking spaces to commercial areas, institutions. The case is further listed for January 13, 2020 thereafter.