SC: Availability of a large amount of parking space is responsibility of state

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 2nd September 2019, in the matter of M.C. Mehta v. Union of India & Ors. pronounced that it is the responsibility of the State to ensure that the roads are free and clear, free from parking and that there is reasonably large amount of parking space available to citizens in residential areas, commercial areas, institutional area, transport hubs etc.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

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. (Para 4)

Wherever there are large transport hubs such as bus depots, railway stations, metro stations, airports, etc. where a large number of people come, there should be adequate facilities for parking. In most of the areas people just want to be dropped off. Therefore, emphasis should be more on “drop and go” arrangements. This aspect should be encouraged by having a very low or no fees for drop­offs and heavy fees for parking vehicles. Parking facilities will have to be provided at transport hubs, especially when we talk of mass rapid transport systems where people will come from peripheral towns to a metropolis like Delhi. (Para 7)

In markets where bulk items have to be transported like subji mandis, fruit mandis, etc. there has to be adequate provision for parking of transport vehicles like trucks, tempos, etc. In fact, it is not only parking but other facilities, such as CNG stations, petrol stations, electric charging points, etc. which should be made available within these areas. (Para 9)

There should be in our view a statutory regime wherein before any person/authority is given permission to build and operate such transport systems, institutions and commercial areas assessment with regard to the needs of parking for the next 25 years at least should be made and parking space should be developed accordingly. (Para 11)

Footpaths are meant for pedestrians. Many houses encroach footpaths for many reasons such as extending the garden, making security guard cabins etc. All these are encroachments of public space. (Para 19)

All security guard cabins should be built within the plot area and not on the footpaths. In any colony where the footpath is found to be encroached upon, strict action should be taken against the owner and the encroachment should be removed from the footpath. In case such house owners after removal of the encroachment again encroach upon the footpath then rules may be framed to discontinue municipal services like water, electricity, sewage etc. to the residence of the encroachers. (Para 19)

Open parking or multi­level parking may be useful in residential areas but automated multi­level parking and automated spiral parking is the need of the hour for parking in institutions like hospitals, courts, transport hubs, etc. where the demand for parking of vehicles is very high. (Para 26)

It is the responsibility of the State to ensure that the roads are free and clear, free from parking and that there is reasonably large amount of parking space available to citizens in residential areas, commercial areas, institutional area, transport hubs etc. (Para 28)

In any parking facility where more than 100 cars can be parked parking guidance and information systems should be compulsorily used. The number of vacant parking spaces should be clearly identified and displayed prominently on signages outside the institutional/commercial areas as well as outside the parking. The parking guidance system should clearly indicate which entrance/route the motor vehicle users should use to reach the nearest vacant parking. This will help in making parking not only more efficient but also reduce the traffic jams outside the parking area. (Para 30)

Copy of judgement:Judgement_02-Sep-2019

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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