Friday, August 19, 2022

Rajasthan High Court quashes plea challenging the Jodhpur Development Authority’s decision to reduce width of road

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The Rajasthan High Court has disposed of a PIL, challenging the decision of Jodhpur Development Authority (JDA) to withdraw the width of Chopasni Road.

The PIL filed by one Chandra Shekhar Kalla alleged that the width of Chopasni Road as per Master Plan of JDA was 60 m. By the impugned decision, JDA has decided to withdraw the road width of 60 m, which is around 200 feet, to reduce it to 160 feet.

The Counsel for the petitioner submitted that any such decision would be opposed to the Master Plan and also contrary to the decision of the High Court in the case of 2017 (1) DNJ (Raj.) 147 Gulab Kothari, Editor, Rajasthan Patrika, Jaipur vs State of Rajasthan and others.

The case of the respondents and in particular JDA is that there is no deviation from the Master Plan in connection with the width of the road.

It is pointed out that the Master Plan 2001-2023 merely categorises Chopasni Road as an arterial road, for which the width of 160-200 feet is described.

It is stated that the report dated January 12, 2017 was filed by the Director, Planning, observing that in view of the importance of Chopasni Road and the increasing traffic in the area and over the road, it would not be recommended to reduce the width of the road from 200 feet.

Reference is also made to the High Court litigation concerning patta being issued to Binu Mathur, to which the wife of the present petitioner had objected, in order to suggest that the present public interest petition does not spouse genuine cause.

Senior Advocate Manoj Bhandari, appearing for the JDA, submitted that the authority does not propose to review the width of the road beyond contrary to the master plan. He drew the attention of the Court to the description of the road in the Master Plan which provided width of the Chopasni Road in two parts first from Kohinoor Cinema to Jwala Vihar as 48 mtrs. and second from Jawala Vihar to by-pass as 60 mtrs.

Bhandari clarified  that there is no proposal to reduce the road width from 60 mtrs. in relation to the segment of Jwala Vihar to by-pass. He further clarifies that even with respect to the other segment, the Master Plan suggests the road to be 48 mtrs., There was a proposal to increase the road width from 160 feet to 200 feet. It was in this context minutes were drawn by the authorities of JDA suggesting that the road width be expanded beyond 160 feet. However, this decision has not been final and the JDA is prima facie of the view that an increase in traffic in future width of the road width 200 feet may be provided.

In view of the said clarifications, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Madan Gopal Vyas  do not find any reason to entertain this petition any further.

The Bench noted on February 3 that the wife of petitioner had objected to the patta being granted to some other person  which was beyond 160 feet from the road line but within 200 feet.

“An undertaking has been given by the patta holder that if the road is widened she will surrender. That apart since there was no proposal for reducing the segment of the road width from Jwala Vihar to by-pass, no further orders are required to be passed. The writ petition is disposed”, the order reads.

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