Supreme Court Halts Road Opening Outside CM’s Residence

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed to open the road in front of the Punjab Chief Minister’s Office to be opened for trial basis, the said road was closed for public since 1980. The Punjab government moved to the Supreme Court against this decision which later stayed the decision by the High Court citing that such moves are not suitable considering the perceived threat.

The Reason Citied for Opening the Road

The road was shut down during the 1980s due to security concerns amid the scare of terrorism in Punjab. But the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Chandigarh Director General of Police or Senior Superintendent of Police to devise a trial plan to open the Naya Gaon Road, i.e., the road in front of the Punjab Chief Minister’s residence from the 1st of May.

The bench, comprising of Acting Chief Justice G S Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerji, instructed that the road shall be opened only on working days and that to from 7 am to 7 pm. However, during the proceedings as well, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh, highlighted the security concerns, but the division bench criticized the assessment provided, calling it biased, and stressed upon the issue of looking at the overall public welfare.

The court’s ruling seeks to find a middle ground between security considerations and public convenience, indicating a proactive stance toward traffic regulation in the area.

Supreme Court’s Assessment on this Issue

The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta issued a notice to the Union Territory of Chandigarh and put on hold the High Court’s directive to reopen the road for a trial period.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Chandigarh administration, argued that certain actions could severely impact an individual’s life.

He emphasized the critical nature of the situation by stating that it involved playing with someone’s life. Echoing these concerns, the Punjab Advocate General highlighted a resurgence of terrorism in recent years, mentioning incidents where grenades were thrown at intelligence buildings.

In response to these security concerns, the court noted that merely focusing on road security would not address the underlying issues. Additionally, Solicitor General Mehta raised objections to the High Court’s remarks on intelligence reports. He questioned the rationale behind the High Court’s suggestion that such reports could be mere figments of imagination. The Supreme Court held that the observations made by the High Court were indeed unnecessary.

Hence, the Supreme Court issued a stay on the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s decision to open the road outside the residence of the Punjab Chief Minister.

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About the Author: Hemansh Tandon