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“We are counting weeks while North Delhi Municipal Corporation is yet to begin work on the drain.”- said Advocate Pulkit Thareja today who had secured an order of the Delhi High Court last month, directing the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to cover open drains running alongside the boundary wall of Sarvodaya Kanya Vidhyalaya, Nehru Vihar ‘on a priority basis’ in accordance with applicable government policy.

The Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar in Om Prakash Ahuja v North Delhi Municipal Corporation observed: “An open drain near the School is dangerous to school children. Hence, this work has to be done on priority basis rather than any other type of work.”

The PIL filed through Advocate Pulkit Thareja had prayed for:

  1. Resurfacing of a 2-kilometre road from Nehru Vihar, Mukherjee Nagar East to Outer Ring Road citing entitlement of citizens under Article 21 of Constitution to reasonable and proper condition of roads free of pot holes. The dilapidated road is prone to accidents.
  2. Covering the open drain that runs alongside Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, that falls on the same road. Children attending the school and parents accompanying them run the risk of falling into the open drain. The PIL also said the drain is breeding ground for disease-spreading mosquitoes.

The petitioner had lodged complaints with several authorities before preferring a petition to the High Court. The counsel supported his plea with the Bombay High Court’s order in Court on its Own Motion, High Court of Judicature at Bombay v The State of Maharashtra and Ors (2013) wherein court while directing the use of scientific methods for laying durable roads had held that:

“Poor condition of roads causes considerable damage to the vehicles. The poor condition of roads considerably slows down the movement of traffic… results into huge waste of fuel and valuable man hours.”

The Hon’ble Court in its wisdom directed the Corporation to cover the open drain preferably within a period of eight weeks, and resurface the road “looking into the need of the public at large and looking at the condition of road in the vicinity of Dr. Mukherjee Nagar East, Nehru Vihar.”

–India Legal Bureau

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